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BERA board chairman face sacking

Skeletons have begun to tumble out of the beleaguered Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) closet as board chairperson Bernard Ndove is facing possible expulsion from the parastatal’s oversight body.

Weekendpost has established that the board took the decision after Ndove misinformed the Parliamentary Committee for Statutory Bodies and Enterprises, while under oath. The board has even suggested that, “it might be a more honorable decision for yourself to resign rather than to be taken to task for perjury and face criminal prosecution. But it is your call,” the letter from BERA’s concerned board member reads. 

Appearing before the committee this week, Ndove revealed that the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security trampled upon the BERA Act when increasing retail prices for all petrol grades by 65 thebe per litre, diesel by 73 thebe per litre and paraffin by 63 thebe. According to Ndove, BERA as the regulatory authority have the responsibility to recommend and determine the price of fuel as per their Act.

It appears other BERA board members were not happy with the conduct of the chairperson who was at pains responding to the question posed by the committee members. A letter seen by this publication written to Ndove a day after appearance at the parliamentary committee states that; he has put “BERA in a rather compromising position and put all the current board members in danger of losing their much appreciated appointments.”

Among the ‘fabrication or misinformation’ Ndove told the committee according to the letter, is the involvement of BERA in the recent petrol hike decision process.  “There has never been a board sub-committee approving the tariff for petrol nor has there been a board approval of the said tariff increase. Most of the board members saw the announcement on the newspapers just like the general public.”

The statement is contrary to Ndove’s pronouncement on Tuesday that the parastatal had actually recommended that petrol should be increased by P1.14 per litre and, “we were surprised when they made the announcement,” Ndove said referring to ministry announcement on the increase. The letter has also questioned the board chairperson’s decision to claim obliviousness on any BERA member who has had a business relationship with BERA.

“That is not true. You have had business relationship with BERA. A company associated with yourself Pipe King Services supplied BERA with computers worth P34 384.00 on October 2018.”  This, the letter says it is a fact Ndove has acknowledged in the last board session when financial statements were discussed.  “Whether you made profit or not, as you intimated in your blistering monologue is a moot point,” the letter stated.

BERA CEO Rose Seretse has told the oversight body this week that there is a matter under investigation relating to a member who has a business relationship with BERA. “DCEC is also involved on the matter. We picked it up since it was allegations in the newspapers. It is about a Tanzanian.” The parliamentary committee on Tuesday was told that the BERA logo was designed by a company called Heritage which was initially agreed to cost P150, 000 before more additions.

 “This was patently false too. You designed the logo even though Mr. Motswetla and myself, as I recall cautioned you against such as a matter of principle, even when we were informed that it would be for free or gratis, which to my knowledge it was. I still do not understand why you could not offer such an explanation.”  The two paged letter further went on to state that Ndove’s statement saying that no one was handpicked for a post at BERA is false. It is said CEO Rose Seretse was handpicked by both Ndove and the then Minister Sadique Kebonang.

Chief Operations Officer (COO) Duncan Morotsi and the Human Resource Director were also handpicked and unilaterally employed by the board chairperson. “Only Chawada Machacha, the Director of Finance went through an interview process,” It is said. Appearing for examination at the parliamentary oversight body, it was disclosed that the CEO and the chairperson circumvented established process, despite documented cautions from board members, and waivered a license provision for political expediency.  “You had been fully made aware that you do not possess such authority. Instead you chose belligerence over caution and ethics by attacking those who were warning you. That is rather unfortunate,” the letter quipped.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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