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Mokaila to develop road, aviation sectors

SHARE   |   Monday, 27 March 2017   |   By Kitso Mokaila
Mokaila to develop road, aviation sectors

In mitigating the escalating Road Accidents, our focus has shifted to improving driving schools and driving instructors by enhancing our legislative instruments which are: The Road Traffic Act (RTA) and Road Transport Permits Act (RTPA). Some Regulations of the Road Traffic Act have been reviewed and these regulations include Road Traffic (Driving Schools and Driving Instructors) Regulations. The driving schools and driving Instructors regulations advocates for conducive, proper, well equipped and professional driving schools with better facilities manned by qualified driver instructors, with an approved training programme by Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA). My Ministry is further considering the introduction of the Road Traffic (Demerit Points) Regulations, which aims at improving the driving culture by introducing punitive measures to careless drivers, which may lead to suspension or revocation of a driving licence. Consideration is been taken to enhance Public Health Safety, by introducing the Road Traffic (Control of Motor Vehicle Emissions, Importation and Registration of pre-owned Motor Vehicles) Regulations. This regulation will assist in the facilitation of outsourcing of the vehicle road worthiness and emission test to private motor dealers as a measure to reduce congestions at the Department of Roads transport and Safety. In an endeavour also to reduce congestion at the Department of Road Transport and Safety, my Ministry will leverage on the ICT and introduce on-line services on the renewal of motor vehicle licence and drivers licence.

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE
There has been significant progress as regards to the commencement and completion of mega projects in my Ministry. The bulk of development budget for my Ministry was used for continuation of the Economic Stimulus Program (ESP) projects, Tonota – Francistown (30km) dual road, Road Sector Investment (Output and Performance Based Contracts), Kazungula Bridge, Mohembo Bridge and Chalershill - Ncojane road which are carried over from 2015/16 financial year.
The Tonota - Francistown (30km) road has been completed and was opened to traffic in September 2016. The completion of the road has enhanced traffic flow between Tonota and Francistown. The Thapama interchange is 86% complete and is expected to be opened to traffic by July 2017. The construction works for Charleshill – Ncojane (109km) road commenced in June 2016 and currently progress stands at 18. Construction of Mohembo Bridge across the Okavango River commenced in November 2016 and is expected to be completed by July 2019. My Ministry has made progress in the implementation of ESP projects with 3 mega projects being Gaborone – Boatle, Tshesebe – Masunga, and Dibete – Mookane – Machaneng road being awarded for construction. The bidding documents for construction for Molepolole Through road, Mogoditshane – Mankgodi junction and Mabeleapudi Serule are in draft stage while design of access roads is progressing at different levels. Designs of Mmathethe – Tsoaneng and Modipane – Mabalane are expected to commence next financial year. Maintenance and upkeep of our road network continues to pose a challenge to my Ministry. The recent heavy rains have worsened the conditions of our roads which have developed severe potholes rendering some roads impassable. Some of the drainage structures (bridges/culverts) have been affected leading to closure of some of the key roads. My Ministry is working round the clock to alleviate the situation. Currently the Ministry is working on reprioritising the budget allocations in order to attend to these emergencies.


We continue to engage local contractors to do bush clearing and grass cutting along public road network on output-based method. This initiative is proving to be more efficient as more roads are being cleared. Reseal of roads as a preventative measure is being undertaken on some of our roads depending on the budget. The following are examples of works that we successfully completed through our reseal/asphalt overlay maintenance programme: the Tsau – Nokaneng (35km), Sefophe – Martins Drift (120km), Junction 44 – Tsootsha (40km), Radisele – Palapye (33km), Draehoek – Omaweneno (30km), Maun – Toteng (65km), Bobonong - Lekkerpoet (55km) and Mmashoro Failed Section road (10km). Shoulder repair and resealing of Artesia – Dibete (45 Km) , Maun - Makalamabedi (50 km), Sekoma - Morwamosu (50 km) and Junction 44 – Tsotshaa Sect I (40km) roads are on-going while, Tsau – Nokaneng Section A (35 km) and Francistown – Matsiloje are delayed due to poor performance of contractors. My Ministry is engaging the community on short term contracts to collect litter along the public highways. My Ministry continues to engage Labour Based Technology (LBT) projects along A1.

National Multi Modal Transport Master Plan

During 2015 my Ministry commenced the development of the National Multi-Modal Transport Master Plan, encapsulating development of a regional transport integration strategy for Botswana and a transport master plan for Greater Gaborone. This will be the blue print in guiding us to have an efficient, cost effective, safe, integrated and sustainable transport system which will cover a wide range of aspects for an improved transport system of the future including legislation, the institutional setup, planning and data management, infrastructure development and maintenance and monitoring and evaluation across transport modes. The programmes and projects to be identified by this study will contribute to economic diversification. The project which was to be concluded in 2016 stalled in July 2016 owing to contractual differences with the Consultant. My Ministry is currently in the process of reviving the project, which is to be concluded before the end of September 2017.  Study on the Implementation of an Improved Metropolitan Public Transport System for the Greater Gaborone Area
This house was previously briefed regarding the Study on the Implementation of an Improved Metropolitan Public Transport System for the Greater Gaborone Area. The study was commissioned to examine the public transport status quo in Greater Gaborone and recommend a new, attractive public transport system with the potential to greatly improve mobility in Greater Gaborone and reduce private car use. This study was concluded in April 2016 and my Ministry has considered the study recommendations and is in the process of developing a detailed implementation plan in preparation for final consultations before proceeding with implementation.

Greater Gaborone Urban Transport Improvement
Following completion of the Greater Gaborone Multimodal Transport Study of 2011, a number of interventions were recommended to address the challenges of congestion and road traffic accidents in Greater Gaborone. Amongst these, were proposals to upgrade the traffic signals and intersections in order to ease traffic flow. In this regard, my Ministry completed conceptual designs and bidding documents for traffic signals improvement and establishment of a centralised traffic control centre and surveillance system. Subsequently, a tender was advertised for the traffic signals installations and is currently in the final stages of adjudication following a protracted clearance process with the World Bank. My Ministry has also completed conceptual designs and is in the process of finalising bidding documents for the upgrading of three intersections along K T Motsete Drive (‘Western Bypass’) at the crossing of Lobatse Road (‘Game City Circle’), Kudumatse Drive (‘Rainbow Circle’) and Will Seboni/Mogoditshane Road (‘BTV Circle’).

RAIL SECTOR NETWORK AND SERVICES

Last year my colleague reported that 8 locomotives will be delivered in March 2017, however this date has since been revised to October 2017. Botswana Railways on March 22, 2016 launched the Passenger Train Service, named the “BR Express”. Subsequently the BR Express commenced operations as was announced. At commencement of the service, challenges were experienced on various coaches. However, these have since been addressed and currently coaches are working in good order; the four (4) major setbacks that were experienced were the following: Fuel contamination by water in the Generator Van; Faults on air conditioning system; Faults in toilet system; and Faults in the electrical system. In line with the passenger train service, a project to refurbish railways stations is currently on-going. Six (6) stations were planned for upgrade and refurbishment, being Francistown, Serule, Palapye, Mahalapye, Gaborone and Lobatse. The project is scheduled to be completed by end of March 2017. The project for Mahalapye and Palapye has been differed to the next financial year 2017/18.

AVIATION SECTOR

My Ministry will continue to develop our airport infrastructure in order to attract investors and tourists. I am pleased to announce that the New Maun Control Tower was completed in May 2016 and is currently under defects liability period. Efforts are underway to construct a new Terminal Building in Maun but in the meantime we are also in the process of refurbishing the current Terminal Building to modernize it and reduce congestion. The refurbishment is expected to be completed by mid-2017 while the new Terminal building is expected in 2022. Kasane Terminal Building which is behind schedule is also expected to be completed by mid-2017. Maintenance of Gumare Airfield was completed in November 2016 while Shakawe is expected to be completed end of March 2017. Contracts for installation of Air Traffic Control equipment in both the Maun and Kasane International Airports new towers were signed in May and September 2016 respectively. Equipment for Maun has been delivered and is currently being installed. These are to be commissioned in June 2017. For Kasane, the equipment is being manufactured and is scheduled to be delivered in June 2017. The “Improvement of Radar Coverage in the Eastern Sector Airspace” Project was completed and commissioned in April 2016. The radar coverage in eastern Botswana has immensely improved after completion of this project. My Ministry is further implementing a project for Improvement of Navigation Aids at Maun, Kasane and Kang. The project entails installation of navigation aids at these sites in order to enhance flight operation safety in the Botswana Airspace and at airports. The project is implemented in phases and the first phase Contract, which was for the installation of navigation aids at Kang, was signed in July 2015. Equipment was delivered in June 2016 after which it was installed and commissioned in August 2016. Secondly, a tender for the second phase, which entails installation of navigation aids at Maun and Kasane which was scheduled for advertisement before end of March 2016 has delayed and will be advertised in April 2017. Botswana has adopted the African Union Commission’s decision of the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly. The commission was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015, and focused on the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decisions on liberalisation of air transport markets in Africa (1999). The event also marked the establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market that came into effect in January this year 2017. This means Botswana skies are fully liberalised or rather Botswana is practising an open skies policy. Furthermore Madam Chairperson, there is no protection for the National Airline to operate exclusively in the Scheduled Domestic Air Transport Market. Any operator with the financial muscle and competence can enter and compete in the scheduled air transport market in Botswana.

Botswana’s Adherence to International Aviation Safety and Security Standards

The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) underwent an aviation safety oversight validation in April 2013. Two significant safety concerns (SSCs) in Aircraft Operations and Airworthiness of Aircraft were identified. Today I am happy to announce that the two SSCs were successfully resolved in December 2015. Following the resolution of the two Significant Safety Concerns (SSC’s) there has been an increase in aviation activities that included certification of two Maintenance organizations and one flying training school. It is envisaged the industry is going to expand following the confidence in Botswana as a State to carry out its ICAO mandate in aviation safety oversight. CAAB continues to make progress by updating the ICAO Online Framework in closing the outstanding findings. Having achieved Effective Implementation of 71.32% Botswana is required to implement the State Safety Program (SSP). This follows a resolution by ICAO that requires each state with an EI above 60% to implement SSP by 2018. In this regards CAAB has requested assistance in the SSP implementation from ICAO and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. Botswana was also subjected to the International Civil Aviation Organisation Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (ICAO USAP CMA) audit from 25 to 27 May 2016. The result showed Botswana’s compliance rating of 69.97% of Effective Implementation of the ICAO aviation security requirements. This was an improvement from 33.89% rating in 2008. No Significant Security Concerns (SSSecs) were reported during this audit. In addition, the ICAO USAP CMA audit came up with a number of findings and recommendations that the Ministry has developed Corrective Action Plan to address them.

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In implementing the CTO policy objectives of improving service delivery and decentralization, CTO was able to accredit a number of garages with a view to address the delays in delivery of maintenance services to government ministries. Some of these garages continue to perform the repairs below the required standards and therefore get delisted (15 have been delisted this year), thereby defeating this noble effort by government in her privatisation initiatives. Following the decision to decentralise the management of vehicle maintenance to ministries to ensure increased accountability and speedy services, ministries tend not to use the accredited garages and also have inadequate maintenance budgets. A contractor has been identified for the outsourcing of the Kazungula Ferry and a trial run from April 2016 to July 2016 was delayed as a result of consultations with all relevant stakeholders such as Attorney General’s Chambers. Some repairs on the ferry are also being carried out to ensure the contractor gets it in a suitable state. Following the increased construction activities in the Mohembo area, the Mohembo ferries continue to require regular servicing and repairs. This has led to the bigger ferry requiring new engines which have been procured from local suppliers. The old engines are failing, and this is exacerbated by the flooding river. The replacement of the engines will be completed by the end of April 2017. In an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of fuel to government vehicles, consultations are at an advanced stage between my Ministry, NSO, Botswana Oil, Energy Affairs Department and PEEPA to engage the private sector in provision of fuel through private filling stations and outsourcing of CTO Fuel points. My Ministry is also considering outsourcing Pool Services to the private sector in order to increase the capacity of government to carry out its mandate. Despite the training undergone by the ministries the FTMMS continues to be underutilised. To curb that, Ministries that fail to fully utilise the system will be denied services within CTO including refusal to fuel their vehicles. Let me now present to this Honourable House my budget proposal for the financial year 2017/18, starting with the Recurrent budget proposal and then conclude with the Development budget bid.

2017/18 RECCURENT BUDGET ESTIMATES
My Ministry requests for a provision of P1 971 156 170 for the financial year 2017/2018 compared to the P1 958 613 280 which was warranted for the financial year 2016/2017. This represents about 0.6% increase. The largest share goes to the Central Transport Organisation with an amount of P536 512 090 or 27% followed by the Department of Information Technology P 488 922 620 or 25% and Corporate Services P 401 886 550 or 20% whilst 28% is shared by the other three departments namely, Department of Roads, Road Transport and Safety, Telecommunications and Postal Services.

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2016/17 DEVELOPMENT BUDGET ESTIMATES

Allow me to now present the Ministry’s Development Budget. For the implementation of the Ministry’s development projects planned for the 2017/18 financial year, I request for the sum of P1 739 000 000. The bulk of this budget will be consumed by the Roads Infrastructure and Development of ICT Facilities programs, respectively. This budget shall be distributed as follows;

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Civil Aviation Infrastructure Development: P129 814 000
The third largest share of my Ministry’s development budget goes to the Air Transport Infrastructure development. Major projects to be implemented under this programme are; Maun Airport project, Improvement of Radar coverage projects, completion of the Kasane Airport project, Aeronautical Mobile Services project, Improvement of Aviation Security Systems, Navigational Aids (Installation of VOR/DME) project as well as Upgrading of AFTN to AMHS.

Roads Infrastructure: P933 796 000
The largest amount is required under this programme for completion of some currently on-going projects. These are; Projects under the Botswana Integrated Transport Programme commonly referred to as BITP projects (which includes the OPRC Package 1 - Mankgodi-Jwaneng and Package 2 - Rakhuna-Mabule, Traffic Signal Modernisation + Centralised Traffic Control for Greater Gaborone, Upgtrading of 3 Grades Intersections of KT Motsete Drive - Western bypass), the Tonota-Francistown Dualling project affectionately known as Spaghetti, Charles Hill Ncojane Road project as well as all currently on-going ESP projects. Construction of the Kazungula Bridge and Mohembo Bridge will also continue under this programme.

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This is part of Transport and Communications Minister Kitso Mokaila speech at Parliament’s Committee of Supply.