Sunday, October 25, 2020

WUC profits expected to take a knock as BCL saga unravels

Following the widespread panic generated by news of the closure of BCL which has been a key economic driver of Selebi-Phikwe, the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) Chief Executive Officer, Mmetla Masire, says the BCL fallout is likely to negatively affect the corporation’s financial books.

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Masire stated that the parastatal’s profits are expected to take a dip as the Group was a major consumer of raw and treated water. Masire was pessimistic for the future stating that BCL was the mainstay of WUC and that not having them as a customer would significantly affect them in the long-term.

According to Masire, WUC supplied BCL with 16 million litres of water per month. Quizzed on whether the parastatal would reduce their staff, Masire responded saying: “The Selibe Phikwe WUC operation services a very large geographical area including Bobonong and other villages, therefore, if BCL is not in the picture, it will not necessarily mean that WUC will need to reduce staff.” 

WUC has 235 employees under the Selibe Phikwe management centre, but almost half of them are based outside Phikwe, mostly in Bobonong and other clusters. He also said the corporation will make some savings on operational costs.

However, the CEO would not say how much BCL owes WUC for water usage. “As per WUC policy, the closing balance will be shared with the relevant authorities who will disclose it at their own discretion,” adding that they are yet to get the closing meter readings and reconcile their books.

Since the corporation is always looking at improving efficiency and increasing its customer base, Masire said they are looking at off-setting the loss by supplying other development projects.

“WUC has many customers and wants to assure all of them and its stakeholders and employees that it will continue to provide services in line with its mandate,” he said. 

Botswana government put its largest copper and nickel producer, BCL Mine Limited under provisional liquidation due to non-profitability, but will continue to pay the salaries of 5,000 workers, none of whom have lost their jobs yet.

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