The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Cornelius DeKop, has said they will consider if Debswana can start making public its financial statements. DeKop was appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday as the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.
Answering a question from PAC member, Shaun Ntlhaile on why Debswana – a partnership between Botswana government and De Beers – does not publish its financial results, DeKop said that it is something they will look into, noting that the company may in the future publish them in abridged form.
But De Kop warned that the company might be limited by the existing corporate structure to make results public. “De Beers has got its parent company, Anglo American listed on the JSE,” said the PS, hesitating to comment further on the company as that could affect its trading at the bourse.
The PS, answering a question from another PAC member, Ndaba Gaolathe told the committee that they have started new negotiations for a new deal.
Gaolathe had also asked De Kop whether the ministry has cast its options wide or was only negotiating with De Beers. He said they are considering all available options, assuring the committee that they are negotiating in good faith. No assurance was made of when the negotiations will be complete.
Responding to another question from Gaolathe on the ministry’s efficiency on power production, De Kop said by the end of the 2019 calendar year, the ministry will have completed the drafting of the Integrated Resource Plan which will give direction on the energy mix.
This will integrate other sources of energy such as renewables into the national grid, saying the regulator on the other hand is still struggling to come up with tariffs. “The need to get their act on order,” he said referring to Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) which was formed recently through an act of parliament.
On the cost of electricity, De Kop said government had taken a deliberate decision to meet Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) by way of subsidising the electricity cost. He said in the long run this would not be sustainable as government will ultimately run out of funds to carry on with this cushion.