MP calls for investigation of BPC

Bame Piet

Morupule B remains in ICU 10 years on

Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West David Tshere has called for an urgent investigation into Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) operations and finances, warning that there is evidence that all is not well in the Power Corporation.

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, following a request for P1.722 billion capital injetion by BPC, Tshere said the government cannot continue pumping funds into the company without a throrough knwoledge of what exactly goes on at the corporation.

“I can see all is not well at BPC. We need a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate issues surrounding power generation, and the company financial aspect to justify the money being pumped into it. Morupule B has been on remedial work for too long,” he said.

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Tshere stated that in the National Transitional Development Plan the company was granted P500 million for two years – 500 each year.

“In the July 2023 meeting of Parliament, the minister once again made a request for P700 million which we approved. Now, the company is in need of P1.722 billion and in total owes approximately P4.1 billion. This is disturbing,” he said. He further warned that the country could be facing more power outages in the near future as there are no signs that Morupule B Power Station will ever graduate from remedial works being done on it since its completion in 2012.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Peggy Serame extended P1.722 billion Government Guarantee to Botswana Power Corporation to facilitate its borrowing from local financial institutions in order to pay overdue balances of P1billion with major suppliers and procure spare parts for Morupule B Power Station.

“Government found it necessary to support BPC with a guarantee to borrow from local financial institutions in order to pay overdue balances of up to P1billion with major suppliers, procure spare parts for Morupule B 600 MW power station amounting to P475 million and funding for the power station at P247 million,” she said adding that the debt will be repaid in 10 years with a low interest rate.

The minister added that the BPC Maduo 26 strategy is aimed at attaining financial sustainability by growing the revenue base and improving liquidity; improving asset management by enhancing asset care; and increasing generation amongst others.

Serame said that the P700 million approved last year was for repayment of existing loans at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Nordic Development Fund.

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“As at 31st March 2023, BPC had outstanding loan balances of USD316.67 million with ICBC and EUR1.82 million with NDF, which translates to a total outstanding balance of P4.16 billion. Included in the creditors, are amounts owed to Morupule Coal Mine, which stood at P634.5 million as of 31st January 2024, excluding late interest payment which Morupule Coal Mine charges,” the finance minister confirmed.

Reached for comment, the Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi said BPC is regularly audited and its books are public knowledge.

“The MP has got powers to bring a motion or questions at PAC and indeed questions on the floor in terms of what he wants done at BPC. I have always regularly briefed Parliament about going-ons at BPC including the power station itself,” he said.

Lefhoko further explained that Morupule B power station is repaired at the contractor’s cost and that one out the four completed units is commissioned and working to expectation after the remedial work.

“The next unit will follow until all four are remediated,” said the minister.

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