Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) has laid bare its consistent failures to adhere to its mandate to ensure security of fuel supply and facilitating active citizen involvement in the petroleum sector.
BOL was established to among others, manage and maintain Government owned strategic storages facilities as well as ensuring meaningful participation of citizen owned oil companies in the petroleum industry.
This is contained in the company’s recently released 2020/21 annual report according to which the organisation is unable to “effect its mandate which is to ensure the security and efficiency of fuel supply to Botswana and promote active citizen involvement in the petroleum industry.”
Responding to BOL’s application, BERA took a decision to award the company only a 25 percent license instead of the original 50 percent that it had applied for. BERA explained that the decision was influenced by a new financial, technical and economic assessment in which Botswana Oil met the financial and technical aspect of the assessment.
Said the company’s Board Chairman Dr. Joel Sentsho, commenting on the report: “The challenges for BOL to effectively implement the mandate during the year remained, in the absence of any legislative instrument that would empower BOL to have captive import volumes.”
He said the main restriction continued to be the lack of an import licence that would see BOL consolidate national volumes resulting in captive business for the Company. “In the absence of the import licence the Company continued operating in a willing buyer-willing-seller environment,: he said.
Sentsho notes that: “There was, however, progress towards BOL’s efforts to get an import licence as Cabinet confirmed BOL’s import mandate business model and approved that BOL can apply for 50% of the country’s consumption.”
He said the year covered a period when the company focussed on securing an import licence which would facilitate its implementation of its mandate through the consolidation of national volumes. “This season of the preparation and application for the import licence called for careful analysis, mapping, and extensive engagement of all stakeholders, which the Company achieved fully,” the Board Chairman said.
Touching on the company’s business model, the report says at establishment, the Deloitte Strategy that operationalised Botswana Oil Limited recommended that the Company consolidates supply volumes and does 100% importation of petroleum products into the country, in a quest to ensure national security of supply and guard the economy against supply shocks due to the lack of a limited strategic fuel storage capacity and infrastructure.
“In August of 2020 Cabinet endorsed the recommendation. Due to the absence of enabling legislation for BOL to consolidate imports, the Company continues to operate on a willing-buyer-willing -seller basis. BOL currently procures approximately 10% of the market volumes,” the report says.
The report adds that these volumes are, however, too low to achieve the requisite economies of scale to enhance security of supply and facilitate citizen owned companies which is the primary mandate of BOL. 90% of imports are handled by International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).
It notes that the Company has applied to BERA for an initial 50% import licence. “In view of the anticipated 100% procurement mandate, BOL will not participate in the retail and commercial space, enabling the IOCs and COOCs to compete whilst BOL competes in the open market for product sourcing,” says the report.
According to the report, “following its unsuccessful application for an import licence, Botswana Oil’s business model remained the same and the Company continued to operate on a willing seller willing buyer model, “ adding that “ Sales performance for the year stood at 9% below budget.”
The company said in November of 2020, it applied for a licence with the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) to import and supply up to 50% of the volume of petroleum products consumed in the Country in line with the Presidential Directive CAB 26 (A) / 2020.
“The import licence will afford BOL the opportunity to effect its mandate which is to ensure the security and efficiency of fuel supply to Botswana and promote active citizen involvement in the petroleum industry,” the report says.
The company says as a wholesale importer, the opportunity exists for it to increase volumes and percentage imports into the country by the supply and distribution of fuel to major consumers.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.