All things being equal, United Refineries Botswana (URB) is expected to start edible oil production from its Francistown refinery plant mid next month, a senior official with the company announced Thursday.
Mmoloki Tibe, the URB Managing Director made the announcement in a presentation shared with the Assistant Trade and Industry Minister Sadique Kebonang on the company’s business model and progress.
According to Tibe, the business model and progress shared with the Kebonang and some officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry are intended at realizing the full business mock-up for URB.
Once fully commissioned, Tibe said the expectation is that the refinery will be producing at least 70tonnes of cooking oil per day. This will help in the reduction of the import bill when it comes to cooking oil.
Currently, Botswana consumes in excess of one million litres of cooking oil annually. And the cooking oil consumed in Botswana is being imported from the neighboring South Africa at a fortune.
It is estimated that a tone of cooking oil costs at least P13 000 (US$1 200). And this money could be circulating within the country to create employment for the unemployed lot of this nation.
“The expectation is that full production of oil will start on April 15 2015 to be precise. All the tanks have been tested by filling them with water to establish if there any leakages. And the test has passed,” announced Tibe.
Tibe said URB seeks to provide quality cooking oil through the integrated use of the latest oil technology and information systems.
Raw sunflower will be imported from South Africa and gets refined at the cooking oil plant in Francistown, Tibe said. URB has resorted to importing raw sunflower from South Africa because there are no sunflower seeds crushing plants in Botswana, he said.
“The plant will produce 70tones per day with a total of 2 500 to 3 000tones per month. The (cooking) oil will be sold in Botswana and the balance will be exported to countries north of Botswana where a ready market exists,” he said.
Some of the countries earmarked to buy cooking oil from URB are Zimbabwe, whose oil producing companies have long liquidated, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alongside Angola.
Kebonang hailed the development saying realizing full business model would result in the cutting of the import bill currently estimated at a staggering P64billion, according to statistics from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC).
Products to be produced are SunGold Pure, SunGold Blended, SunGold Olive Oil, SunGold mayonnaise and SunGold Margarine. In addition to these edible products, bath and washing soaps will be also manufactured at this plant situated at Dumela Industrial area.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.