SPEDU looks to curtail project failures


SELEBI-PHIKWE: Director of Projects and Programmes at SPEDU, Jezenger Uezesa says they evolve with technology and use advanced technologies to minimise possibilities of their projects becoming white elephants in the future.

Members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, who visited the agency this week, were curious to know the plans that have been put in place to ensure that the projects being implementing do not turn into white elephants.

Previously, projects that were meant to improve the economic fortunes of the town such as the textile factories and other Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) projects crumbled and left thousands jobless.

For his part, SPEDU Chief Executive Officer, Mokubung Mokubung reiterated they conduct thorough feasibility studies to establish the viability of any project they embark on, in terms of return on investment and demand.

“We exercise due diligence on our projects to make sure that they do not turn into white elephants in the future,” he added.

SPEDU is carrying out major projects like Motloutse farm electrification, horticultural processing plant, Platjan Bridge construction, mine museum and refurbishment of the Selebi-Phikwe airport that is already complete and ready for use.

Mokubung said they are being funded by the European Union’s Re-Employment Account that is administered by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

He added that through the Motloutse farm electrification project that entails supplying power to 44 farms along Motloutse River, they intend to improve the output of the horticultural farms along the river.

He added that P9 million has been injected into Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to connect a 42 kilometre powerline and the corporation is yet to conduct the environmental impact assessment study and they hope the project will be completed by the first quarter of next year.

SPEDU also observed that the Platjan Bridge in Bobirwa is strategic for tourists to access the region and they are still profiling the tourist attractions in the area. The project is a priority area and P100 million has been reserved for its implementation. “More jobs will be created as a result of increased investment,” said Mokubung.

He further said the SPEDU region has plenty of dams hence they found it necessary to tap into the aqua tourism and create water resorts. He added that they intend to embark on dam tourism by ensuring that no contamination takes place and added that the feasibility study for Letsibogo dam is done while that of Dikgatlhong is ongoing and will also involve thorough consultation and an environmental impact assessment.

The CEO also added the scoping report for Thune and Letsibogo dams have been approved by a reference group in August this year and the draft master plan have been submitted.

An amount of P89 million has also been injected in the new steel and manufacturing plan that was officially opened last month and SPEDU is planning to let small businesses in its land banks to tap into the new steel business.

The anticipated mine museum will also be used for educational purposes and increase tourism in the region as there will be facilities for both surface and underground mining. Mokubung said they will utilise the BCL shafts that are no longer in use.

“BCL has acquired 49 hectares of land for the project and the environmental impact assessment is ongoing. The project entails the capture plant and its downstream projects and is anticipated to be completed in 2018,” he said.

Mokubung was optimistic that their projects would promote exports and import substitution and hoped that the town of Selebi-Phikwe will grow into a city and emphasised the need to enhance private sector participation.

Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Puso Gaborone was impressed with all the efforts to improve the country’s economy and subsequently curb rural urban migration. He said resources in the region could be utilised to promote tourism and enhance foreign direct investment.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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