Members of Parliament (MP) have welcomed the amendment of the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) Bill arguing it would eliminate corruption.
The Bill, which was presented by the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi seeks to change the structure or setup of the appointment of eight Board members (four being part-time members and four being full-time) to seven members of the board all being part-time.
Moagi said the Bill also seeks to align provisions dealing with the functions of the authority, the Board and frequency of meetings of the Board with the membership of the board.
He added that the Bill also introduces a new section, which deals with disclosure of interest by members of the Board and introduces transitional and savings provisions in line with Section 14 A of the Interpretation Act, CHAP 01:04.
Moagi said BERA is currently facing governance challenges as a result of a weak Board structure that provides for unclear reporting and liaising between the chief executive officer (CEO) and the full-time Board members. He said the Board that currently governs the authority’s term would expire at the end of April 2020.
Despite supporting the Bill, the MP for Tonota, Pono Moathodi raised a concern on how most of the Board members were selected, stating that the preferred members are always from the ruling party.
Sharing the same sentiments, MP for Palapye, Onneetse Ramogapi said the objective of the law was vital as it intends to create
“The proper governance of the Board is to establish direction and to approve long-term policies, but what is currently obtaining at BERA is that some employees also hold the position of Board members, becoming the seniors of their CEO, something which is improper looking at the objective. There must be separation of powers,” he said.
The MP for Nkange, Never Tshabang agreed with other MPs. He stated that he has been wondering when the Minister would crack the whip on BERA because it was a critical organisation, as far as energy security was concerned.
“What we have been hearing over the past years has not been giving us confidence that we have a good organisation, as far as corporate governance is concerned,” he said.
“I support this Bill because we are correcting corporate governance irregularities. Hopefully, we are not helping you to bring in certain individuals, or target certain individuals. We support you because we want you to bring the structure that is needed, but be careful of the issue of corruption.”
Tshabang added that some people are Board members because they want to use such positions to illegally dip their fingers and divert public funds into their pockets.