Phikwe airport refurbishment commences


SELEBI-PHIKWE: SPEDU sees positive signs in the ongoing refurbishment of Selebi-Phikwe airport.

The organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mokubung Mokubung has said that once operational the airport, which is undergoing refurbishment, will ensure that SPEDU will be in a position to approach civil aviation companies to do business in Selebi-Phikwe.

Mokubung showed optimism at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SPEDU, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) together Bango Trading on Monday morning.

Mokubung said that would help the local tourism industry and service providers. He added that SPEDU aims to develop infrastructural and entrepreneurship opportunities. The MoU was signed to facilitate the beginning of Selebi-Phikwe Airport refurbishment, which has been identified as one of the strategic areas of development in support of economic diversification and promotion of key economic opportunities.

Mokubung strongly advised Bango Trading, a company contracted to refurbish the airport to make sure it delivered a quality project within agreed time limits to avoid cost escalations.

“This is a watershed time upon which we are starting to show implementation as we are mandated to do so as SPEDU.

“We are steadfast in making sure that our projects will enhance import substitutions among others,” he added.

The P14, 747, 176 million project was funded by European Union (EU) through the Re-employment account. Mokubung said this amount shows that seriousness should be exercised in the implementation of the project.

He added that the project has to be completed on time to prevent cost escalations and preserve the good name of the contractor to avoid blacklisting.  The works at the airport started on May 12 and are expected to be completed in August this year. Work started with the paving of the runway.  It was also highlighted during the signing event that CAA has offered to start working with the consultant and the contractor from the beginning to ensure an up to standard project.

Mokubung added that SPEDU is now a fully-fledged parastatal under the Ministry of Trade and Industry with full autonomy.

SPEDU’s Mining, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Manager, Theodore Seemule explained that the recent Regional Tourism Study that was conducted by SPEDU identified the need for enhanced access by road, rail and air as being key to supporting the diversification initiative. The study recommended the expansion of Selebi-Phikwe airport among other things. He added that the study that was conducted by Aurecon Botswana last year recommended the refurbishment of the airport runway as being critical to avert closure of the facility.

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