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Govt ditches NPF, ropes in BERA

A few weeks after the government revealed that the National Petroleum Fund coffers were running out of funds, with less than P10 million left in its bank account, indications are that a new manager of oil issues has been identified.

Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Minister, Lefoko Moagi, has tabled a Bill under a certificate of urgency calling for amendment of Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority Act to give the authority mandate to monitor and manage all oil related matters.

Moagi said among other reasons for the urgency of the matter is that a number of refineries have shut down in neighbouring South Africa where the bulk of the fuel and its components are imported from.

He added that there is a lot of rationing for petroleum imports. “Even international oil companies are frequenting Botswana Oil to purchase petroleum products because of the rationing in South Africa”.

Under the amended Law, BERA will be mandated to import, maintain, and manage strategic petroleum reserves, “and consolidate, import and supply commercial trading stocks to the market”.

The new BERA Act will also provide for the establishment of such percentage, as may be prescribed, of the import quantity to be known as the petroleum products quota allocation, to be imported by the public body.

“The Minister may, after consultation with the Authority, make regulations imposing restrictions on importation of petroleum products, as he or she may deem necessary on licences issued to other market participants, to give effect to the quota allocation granted to the public body”.

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The Minister did not mention what will happen to the NPF but from the aforementioned, the Fund man be as good as dead, after numerous court cases between the company that was contracted to manage it and the government.

The amended BERA Act will now usher in Chief Executive Officer of BERA as the fund manager replacing Bakang Seretse whose company was at some point contracted to manage NPF before the court disputes that lasted for close to five years.