Alliance for Progressives (AP) President also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe, has challenged government to consider a draft Bill they have availed for the reopening of BCL mine.Gaolathe has revealed that there is a fully-fledged Bill on BCL restructuring and revitalising of Selibe-Phikwe region.
According to Gaolathe they have already written a letter to Minister of Finance and Economic Development and Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security but there has not been any response. “In our letter we requested that they look at some of our proposals and take them into consideration. We are not saying they should take everything as it is and implement but we are saying look at our proposal and pick some because we believe they would be helpful.
We are also available to assist if they need such help from us. Until today we have not received any response from the two ministers and now we are surprised about the intention to reopen the mine,” Gaolathe told the media this week.He explained that in their restructuring plan they have proposed setting up of a Fund. Once the Fund has been set up, Gaolathe revealed that it would fund various activities such as joint ventures and partnerships with the private sector which would also make contribution towards that fund.
The second part of the fund according to the AP leader is for revitalisation of Selibe-Phikwe through a private equity fund. He explained that there is a huge scope for tourism and fertilisers in the Selibe-Phikwe region. “If the mine is to be opened the matter has to come to Parliament because government would inject some capital.
There are many things that will have to happen before the mine could be opened. The problem is that the current administration does not have the wisdom or good judgement. From the start the collapse of the BCL was as clear as daylight because all indicators were there to show that BCL would collapse. “We made contributions as to what could be done. Right now it is not clear as to what government wants to do in as far as the reopening of the BCL is concerned,” he explained.
Gaolathe says it is not clear whether government wants to go into partnership, whether the affected employees would all come back to work or a certain fraction of the over 5000 employees would be considered or not. “We do not know how transparent the process would be. How involved would be Parliament, especially Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises and its input,” he wondered.
The Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security has dismissed reports that government will reopen BCL mine. The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, stated that Government is not good at business and should give way where an opportunity exists for the private sector.
He said the Ministry and Government will not assume a similar role in BCL as in the past. The private sector will in their own determination, but facilitated by Government, assume any future investment in BCL, said Dekop. The PS indicated that the Minister has held discussions with the Liquidator on grouping the assets and liabilities of the mine expeditiously, so that any interested investor can purchase or assume part or all of such assets and liabilities.
This will enable those aspects of the mine that could be put back to life to resume business through private sector investment, he explained.