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Officers ought to be extra cautious in their work

MMEGI EDITOR
Last week we carried a news article about the extension of Morupule B Power Station by joint venture between a Japanese company Marubeni and a Korean counterpart.

The 300 MW project hangs in the balance after it emerged that the company demands a P8.5 billion surety in the event Botswana Power Corporation(BPC) defaults in power purchase agreement. However, government officials are not sure how the clause in the contract came into being and they are as surprised as anybody who witnessed last month’s 6.5 earthquake.

It would appear that the Government officials have not learned from their past mistakes when handling multi-billion contracts such as this one. Through the project, we were hopeful that power shortages would be a thing of the past, especially after an embarrassing multi-billion Morupule B, which is now scheduled to be sold to a private company in the near future.

It is still troubling to see that officials do not scrutinise documents before committing the government to huge projects that will ultimately impact on the pockets of taxpayers.

Just recently we learned with shock that BPC is struggling financially yet it enjoys the monopoly of being the supplier of electricity in the country. In return, the Government has raised tariffs obviously in a bid to cushion the corporation and hitting hard on the pockets of the ordinary people who were never involved in decision making that resulted in a failing Morupule B power station. Our memories are still fresh on the mess that resulted in the loss of close to P1 billion in

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Palapye Glass Project, which was a joint venture between Botswana Development Corporation and an unknown entity in China. Officials, representing the government committed millions of pula in an invisible entity, only to realise very late that they do not know who they are dealing with; that the company has no offices anywhere in the world, and that they were duped into believing that theirs was a joint venture project.

The glass project was ultimately liquidated and hundreds of millions went into the drain amid high unemployment and poor economic performance. We have observed with utter dismay that our officials are too lazy to read and understand documents but instead rush into conclusions which later come back to haunt them.

It is for this reason that every year, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee; the Standing Committee on State Enterprises and other oversight institutions are battling same errors that officials commit in the day-to-day execution of their duties. What is even painful is that it is always business as usual for the Government as none of these officers are neither held to account, nor dismissed for negligence. We demand to see action taken against officers who fail their duties if we are to have confidence in the country’s leadership.

Today’s thought

“When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else”

 - David Brin



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