World Bank transport project loan still to be disbursed

The Botswana Integrated Transport Project loan from the World Bank, authorised by parliament last June, is yet to be disbursed.

Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo said the loan agreement provides for retroactive financing of activities that are undertaken prior to the loan effectiveness date and are required before the infrastructure is developed.

He was responding to a question in parliament by Lobatse legislature, Nehemiah Modubule on the usage of the funds so far. 

The government has so far used about P2 million in retroactive activities as per the agreement, and its outstanding commitments amount to more than P800 thousand.

According to Matambo, activities that qualify for retroactive financing are training of staff, preparation and design of the output and performance based road contract, the infrastructure technical support group as well as the Greater Gaborone Multimodal Transportation Study.

"The activities are being paid from government resources and will be claimed from the World Bank as agreed," he said.He explained that some of the conditions precedent to the loan effectiveness have been met but those remaining would be fulfilled shortly. Among those carried out include sending three officers for training. The officers from the department of roads, Ministry of Local Government- technical services and Gaborone City Council attended a Modeling and Simulation of Transport Networks training in July 2008. Also a contract for the Technical Support Group was awarded in October 2009, and a team of three specialists mobilized last November to start its advisory role at the Department of Roads.

" A consulting firm has been appointed to undertake work on conceptual design for Output Performance Based Contract, and they are expected to submit a revised interim report by March 5," he said.

Moreover, he said, a consulting firm was engaged to undertake the Greater Multimodal Transportation Study last October and the Regional Transport Sector Integration Study is at a tender stage with the evaluation ongoing and due for completion by March the 5th.

According to the World Bank, the development objective of the Integrated Transport Project for Botswana is to enhance the efficiency of the transport system by building modern business management capacity, and improving the strategic planning aspects of inter-regional transport and critical transport infrastructure. There are three components to the project. The first component of the project is capacity building, institutional strengthening, and training. This component comprises provision of technical advisory services to undertake, a number of pre-investment activities, and a capacity building, knowledge transfer, and institutional strengthening and training program.

It also aims at introducing strategic planning and transport integration, modern methods of management and contracting, technology improvement, knowledge development, and sharing. The second component of the project is road sector investment. This component introduces a pilot long-term output and performance based road contracting (OPRC) method for a road asset management program covering 800km of rural and semi-urban road in Kanye road depot, as well as the provision of technical advisory services to monitor the progress and quality of works.

The work cycle will include all required activities in order to reach the designed level of service on the specific road network from engineering to the final users' satisfaction point of view.

The third component of the project is urban roads infrastructure investment. This component comprises the implementation of an urban traffic improvement program in Greater Gaborone city and technical advisory services to supervise construction of the improvement works under this component. The investment aims to solve the urgent urban congestions along the major city roads/streets and intersections introducing modern and advanced planning, design and implementation techniques.

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