ENJOYING WATER AT THE TOP TABLE: Minister of Minerals, Energy and water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, BPC CEO, Jacob Raleru and MEWR permanent secretary briefed the nation on energy and water crisis in the country.
It is going to take a while before the future of embattled Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) multi-billion pula mega project Morupule B Power station is known.
The BPC Chief Executive Officer, Jacob Raleru revealed this week that it will take 2-3 years to “fix all what needs to be fixed” at Morupule B. The power plant has failed to produce to full capacity.
“We start procuring what is needed to fix the problems at the plant and it’s going to take two to three years to fix all the problems at the plant,” said Raleru.
This is despite the Minister Kitso Mokaila having gone on record several times stating that the project would be complete in previous years but the deadlines were delayed.
Raleru said that frequent breakdowns of boilers persist and currently the power station is running on 3 units with a power deficit. The units are only producing 310 megawatts (mw) while the whole station is expected to be generating a capacity of 600 mw with each unit churning out 150mw.
The Morupule B plant was initially constructed by China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) whose contract was later terminated by government following a dispute of not meeting up contractual obligations, and it was replaced by a German company named STEAG Energy Services which was roped in to assist detect problems created by CNEEC and fix them an effort that is yet to be fully fulfilled.
However Raleru said to alleviate the current problems interim measures have been put in place. He dismissed ongoing rumors that the plant could explode at anytime saying Protection devices are working and periodic inspections of the plant are conducted.
“There is no likelihood of Morupule B exploding,” said Raleru.
He said BPC has regular interactions with African Development Bank (AFDB) and the World Bank (WB) on the way forward.
Of late the country has been experiencing serious power outages following power generation constraints at Eskom. BPC is now short of 150 MW of electricity, following the Morupule B capacity being greatly affected by the South African corporation.
Addressing the media during the same press conference minister Mokaila said Batswana need to understand that Power shortages are not only a Botswana problem but a regional problem.
“There is a general energy deficiency it’s not all about Morupule B,” said Mokaila.
He added that only a quarter of the plant has been affected, and not the whole plant, hence the government can’t do away with whole plant.
He dismissed reports that the P11 billion that was budgeted for the whole plant went to waste. Out of the P11 billion, P3 billion was used to put up the transmission line and water while less than the budgeted P8 billion was used for the construction of Morupule B.
Mokaila said they have strategies in place to deal with the situation. He said his ministry is planning to bring stability at the plant as well as replace and redesign the boilers, which is a long-term plan.
He said all things being equal they are expecting another unit on board by the end of the year.
Regarding the ongoing load shedding and the deal Botswana has with Eskom, Mokaila said Botswana has a non-firm agreement. The agreement allows South Africa to withdraw their power supply anytime if need arises.
Mokaila said plans are underway to ensure that next year Morupule A will be churning out 90 megawatts as well as the 35 megawatts expected to be generated by the Diesel plant by end of July 2016. He said they want the 90 megawatt plant from Orapa to use diesel.
He said plans are underway to change the business model to allow independent power producers to come on board.
Mokaila urged Batswana to be very cooperative by switching off geysers.
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.
The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.
In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.
Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.
China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.
Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.
On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.
According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.
The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.
Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.
According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.
The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.
Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.
Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.
Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana. The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.