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Business Botswana boss criticises govt

SHARE   |   Monday, 16 November 2015   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho

Business Botswana President, Lekwalo Mosienyane has condemned government for failing investors and the business community on the water situation by failing to plan ahead. Speaking on  the side-lines of the State of the Nation (SONA)address by President Ian Khama on Monday Mosienyane told this publication that as logic would  dictate, lack of water has negatively affected business in Botswana. “While some of our members are having it bad business-wise, some didn’t have an option but to close shop,” said Mosienyane.
While Khama outlined several aspects and strategies in which government want to remedy the water crisis, Mosienyane argues that all this would not have been necessary had the government planned ahead to cater for rainy days like the current situation. Mosienyane argues that despite the obvious fact that Botswana is an arid country,  the current water situation was worsened by lack of planning on the part of government. “I am aware of  current government efforts , and I must say they are long overdue, “ he said.
According to Mosienyane, the same problems faced by the country as far as power supply is concerned could have been averted had proper planning and implementation been adhered to by government. He asserted that it was high time government trust the private sector to take lead in the implementation and execution of  national big projects like those of power supply. “Project management and implementation should be left to the private sector, the  government's role should be to monitor  and evaluate,” he said.
Mosienyane said government should have taken leaf from successful projects in the private sector, like the Jwaneng Mine Cut 8 project, which he said despite its size and magnitude, the private sector managed to execute and deliver on time. Meanwhile in the 2015 SONA Khama said government has availed a budget for emergency  projects, network extensions, groundwater investigations and the expansion/installation of water treatment plant capacity. “ Altogether, more than P1 billion  worth of projects  are at various stages of implementation.

With the completion  of the Dikgatlhong, Lotsane and Thune dams, our efforts have shifted to associated infrastructure,” he said, adding that securing  domestic  water needs through better management  and increased  conservation as well as expanded  supply will continue  to challenge  Botswana   for some time. According to Khama going forward  a comprehensive  assessment  of all water  challenges  is also   being finalised to assist  with the prioritisation  and implementation  of water  projects.  He said a task team formed  to carry  out an assessment of the water and waste water situation in Botswana has recommended a number of projects  meant  to increase  water supply  across the country.
These efforts by govern were commended by the Mosienyane, who is of the view that , they are for the first time optimistic that something practical will come out of the proposed projects as government has provided guidelines and the implementation timeline for the projects. Khama also  pointed out that  among the on-going projects geared at augmenting the water crisis in the southern parts  of this country is the  extension  of the North-South Carrier from Moralane Break  pressure tank to Palapye, which he says is on-going  and is now scheduled for completion in June 2016. “An additional pump station  is to be constructed near Serorome valley to improve delivery and efficiency of the NSC 1 downstream of Mahalapye to Gaborone,” he said.
He said government  has completed  the Masama East Phase 1 boreholes injection into the NSC1 pipeline, at a cost  of more  than P300 million, as a means of supplementing  the water supply  of the greater  Gaborone region. According to Khama,  plans are also underway  to extend  a similar  project at Masama West (Phase 2) at an estimated  cost  of some P450 million.