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Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR)
Energy Pitso – Stakeholders’ Workshop
12/07/10
Energy Pitso – Stakeholders’ Workshop   Stakeholders of the diverse energy sector converged at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on June 21st, 2010 for the inaugural Energy Pitso. This initiative was aimed at cultivating and building solid partnerships between the Government of Botswana and investors through the Ministry of Minerals, Energy & Water Resources. The Pitso provided a platform for stakeholders to evaluate progress towards meeting pillars of vision 2016 and Energy Policy goals outlined in the National Development Plan 10.

Stakeholders of the diverse energy sector converged at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on June 21st, 2010 for the inaugural Energy Pitso. This initiative was aimed at cultivating and building solid partnerships between the Government of Botswana and investors through the Ministry of Minerals, Energy & Water Resources. The Pitso provided a platform for stakeholders to evaluate progress towards meeting pillars of vision 2016 and Energy Policy goals outlined in the National Development Plan 10.

 

In his keynote address, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Hon Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe said “Energy is a major driver of the economy and it has become imperative that the government commits to providing sustainable and reliable energy services to the nation”. Dr Kedikilwe added that Botswana is facing serious challenges of providing adequate energy supplies, especially electricity and petroleum products, to Batswana as evidenced by the constant load shedding that they are subjected to weekly. He mentioned that unfortunately for the power supply, the situation may deteriorate significantly in 2010 and 2011. Despite all the challenges facing the country, Dr Kedikilwe assured stakeholders that his ministry was indeed doing utmost it’s best to try and mitigate all these hurdles.

 

The Director of the Energy Affairs Division Dr Benoni Erskine enlightened the attendees during his presentation about the progress of the recent electrification projects carried out by the government namely the 30 and 100 villages’ electrification projects respectively. He said these were some of the projects aimed at accelerating electrification in rural areas. Since their commencement, a total of 301 villages have been electrified nationally and electricity network extensions done in 87 villages.

 

According to Dr Erskine, the 30 villages electrification project was financed by the Government of Botswana at a cost of P115 million and the sole remaining village yet to be electrified in the project is Seronga in Ngamiland.

 

He explained that the delay in electrifying Seronga was due to the fact that the villages in Ngamiland had been getting their power from Namibia but due to the inability of the existing infrastructure to accommodate any more villages, a temporary diesel generation station has been planned for construction in Seronga which will supply six villages in this region.

 

By April 2010, 81 villages were already completed under the 100 villages’ electrification project while all the remaining villages had been contracted and construction was ongoing in villages like Tshidilamolomo, Tshimoyapula, Botlhapatlou, Beetsha and others.

 

Mr. Jacob Raleru, the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Chief Executive Officer said until projects such as Morupule B Power Plant were completed, electricity deficits will be prevalent. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2012. Raleru said that there was a correlation between affordability and sustainability and that a hefty P 7.1 billion was required over the next five years to fund a combination of generation and transmission infrastructure. He stressed that they understood the people’s cries over high tariffs but that the corporation’s financiers were also paid through some of the income generated from the tariffs.

 

For energy to be taken and consumed by majority of Batswana, it must be affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly. By 2016, 80% of people should be connected to power to relieve them especially women of domestic chores of travelling long distances to look for firewood.

 

The Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower’s (BOCCIM) Executive Director Mrs. Maria Machailo-Ellis observed that private sector participation is critical as it can aid in the diversification of the energy sector and overall development of energy related issues. She further elaborated that prospective investors required maximum information dissemination about the potential of investing in Botswana’s rich energy resources.

 

A handful of stakeholders who participated in the workshop reinforced Machailo-Ellis’s words that citizen participation was crucial as they could help alleviate the government of responsibilities towards its people. Mr Kedikilwe expressed his delight in a workshop of this magnitude and encouraged the stakeholders to keep the fires burning and not lose momentum such that discussion forums are established to come up with concrete ideas of the way forward.

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