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Mzwinila wants extra P2.4 billion for water projects

The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila has announced this week that Water Quality Monitoring Equipment Project Budget has increased from USD$ 1. 2 million to USD$ 3. 4 million.

Mzwinila said this when briefing stakeholders on the progress and status of Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency (BEWSE) in Gaborone. Minister Mzwinila noted that there is a re- tendering for this project which was further delayed due to the unavailability of World Banks STEP system. Mzwinila said BEWSE project has three components: (1) improve availability of water supply and efficiency of services, (2) improve wastewater and sludge management, and (3) sector reform and institutional strengthening.

The first component of Water Supply projects, the Minister said, is currently 10 of 12 projects that are still in the procurement for Design Review or Design and Build/Design, Supply and Install phase with six of these in the evaluation stage- North East, Boteti, Mosu, Malwelwe, Mathethe, and Francistown. Minister Mzwinila explained that the safeguards are delaying the procurement process for three projects- Selibe Phikwe, Kuke and Bere. These are the environmental and social impact analysis issues.

According to Mzwinila the second component of Waste and Sludge Management entails rehabilitation or refurbishment of three wastewater treatment plants; Mambo, Letlhakane and Lobatse. Mambo project is half way through the feasibility phase, while Letlhakane feasibility has now commenced and Lobatse has awarded the contract and feasibility will commence in February 2020.

In the third component, which is Institutional Strengthening and Capacity building, six (6) studies have signed contracts and started implementation. These are development of raw water abstraction and pricing strategy; development of water conservation and demand management strategy; study on the demarcation of catchment areas; saline groundwater options study; study on the management of aquifer recharge (design and options) and non-site-specific equipment- ground and surface water monitoring equipment.

The Minister further explained that three (3) studies are already at Expression of Interest (EOI) evaluation stage. These are detailed assessment and prioritization plans for long term water security; revision of Water Act and related pieces of legislation and establishment of independent water regulator and development of national sanitation strategy.

Two (2) studies are already at TOR level and have been submitted to WBG. These are development of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) framework for water and sanitation projects and amendment of the national and wastewater policy. Three (3) study projects are still at conceptualization and development of the TOR. The progress for the projects is as follows;

Purchasing and installation of site- specific equipment- surface water and groundwater is planned to be synchronized with the development of the Total Water Management System (TWMS). The feasibility study for TWMS is completed while negotiations with K- Water is ongoing on how to carry out the synchronization. The Minister also confirmed that the development of TOR for drought preparedness and management plan, and the long term national water security strategy is ongoing to be completed by March 2020.

According to Mzwinila, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) currently has eight (8) projects currently under this component. “Progress is still slow. Notable progress was recorded in only two (2) projects; the Non-Revenue Water Reduction Program and Development of a Water Supply and Sanitation Design Manual projects. The progress for the projects is as follows;

Non- Revenue Water Reduction Program is in two Phases. Phase 1: Assessment of Non-Revenue Water Status at different Management Centres is completed. Phase 2: Implementation of Recommendations of Phase 1 is at procurement stage (Procurement of Consultancy for Technical and Commercial Advisory Support; Procurement of Goods Procurement of Works to await appointment of Consultant)

Implementation of Meter Reading and Billing system improvements as per the recommendations of the NRW Strategy Report. Project will await the appointment of NRW Consultant to provide input into the Draft TORs. Development of a Water Supply and Sanitation Design Manual is at procurement stage. The closing of the EOI advert was on 09th January 2020. The project will then move to issuing of Request for Bid.

Mzwinila also submitted that Water Quality Monitoring Equipment project budget has increased from USD$ 1. 2 million to USD$ 3. 4 million. Furthermore there is a re-tendering for this project. Re-tendering process was further delayed due to the unavailability of World Banks STEP system.

Review and implementation of energy reduction strategy; progress to date; Project scope revised at component 3 Projects Meeting on 17th July 2019, to focus on review and implementation of energy reduction strategy. SMEC Audit report has been shared with WB for review and WB to advise this is adequate.

“One (1) project has been added under WUC component 3: Groundwater Monitoring for selected well fields. Draft TORs prepared and under WUC Peer Review. Two (2) projects have been put on hold and will resume after completion of Itemogo Project (WUC Restructuring) are Development of WSS Capital Investment Book and Support for Implementation of Institutional Strengthening”.

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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