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House passes Local Authority Bill

Staff Writer
Parliament has approved a Local Authority Procurement and Asset Disposal Bill that seeks to regulate procurement in councils to curb corruption.

Responding to comments made by Members of Parliament (MPs), Local Government Minister, Margaret Nasha said that she intends to curb incidents where sub-contractors are given a raw deal by their main contractors. She said that in future they want to include a clause in contracts, which will give clients, especially government, access to agreements between sub contractors and the main ones. With this government will simply pay the sub-contractor for the job done.

Nasha also said government wants to monitor foreigners employed in Local Government who at the end of their contracts establish companies, which are later favoured in the awarding of government projects. She said that such employees would be ordered to go back to their countries of origin where they should make fresh applications for registration of their companies. "We are working with the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs on that," she told the House. The minister lamented shortage of qualified architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, and other technical skills in the field of buildings and engineering.

However, it was not such a good day for assistant minister of Finance and Development Planning, Guma Moyo. After tabling the "Sir Seretse Khama International Airport Upgrading and Expansion Project (OPEC Fund for International Development) (OFID) Loan Ratification Bill, he found himself in a very humiliating situation. The man behind the humiliation was none other than MP for Lobatse, Nehemiah Modubule, who discovered an error in the presentation of the Bill. He said the minister had failed

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to state on which Section of the Finance and Audit Act they were going to debate the Bill. However, Deputy Speaker, Thebe Mogami, insisted that the debate should continue, which Modubule refused.

Other MPs supported Modubule, saying it would be irresponsible of the House to  continue with the debate on such an important issue when they had no knowledge of what Section of the Finance and Audit Act was guiding them. The House adjourned to allow the deputy minister to complete his assignment. 

Through the Bill, government wants to ratify the OFID loan for the expansion of Sir Seretse Khama Airport. "The loan from OFID will co-finance construction of the terminal building, with the other financiers being Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Botswana government," Moyo told the House. He said that construction of the runway would be financed from the Domestic Development Fund. The terminal building is estimated to cost P433 million and OFID will provide about P133.7million. The BADEA is to provide P64.93 million. The Botswana government signed the loan agreement with OFID on November 19 last year.

Moyo said the plan is to construct a new terminal building, with a total area of 21000 square metres, comprising passenger halls, administrative office space, commercial office space and a conference facility that can accommodate 100 people. The building will also handle 450 passengers during peak periods, upon completion. In addition the runway will be extended to 3km



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