The National Petroleum Fund’s (NPF) huge debt continues to haunt the Government, forcing it to pass the cost to the consumer through constant fuel price increases.
The Government debt to oil companies stands at over P126m per month against the NPF levy collection of P13.5m per month, said the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale.
Molale revealed as of 31st October, the NPF had a balance of P76 m which is not enough to sustain the NPF activities. The money has already shifted to clear huge Government debts to oil companies for December 2017, estimated at P96 million.
Against this deepening crisis, the Ministry had to source funds from elsewhere in an effort to manage the Government oil debt. Some P 830 million was raised, comprising P430m sourced from Road Levy Fund, P100 million from Security of Supply Margin and P300 m diverted from Government Central Fund.
With the continuous fuel prices increases having caused public concern and debate reaching the National Assembly ground following the misappropriation of P230 million from NPF, Molale denied that the fuel prices hike is associated to repaying the money that was misappropriated.
He however said in June this year his Ministry recovered P114 million from the DISS, with a balance of P116 million yet to be recovered.
“It is important to note that even if the P230 million had not been taken out of the NPF more funds would have still have been needed to assist the fund. This is because at the time of the alleged misappropriation prices had already gone into an under-recovery position and at the time the Government debt to oil companies was far huge,” said Molale.
He said the reasons for the petroleum products adjustments is a result of the growing prices in supply and demand in the international markets where Botswana import petroleum products, saying since Botswana is a price taker it has been challenged because the product prices are influenced by external factors.
He said the retail prices of all petrol and diesel grades will be reviewed on monthly basis to determine the need for adjustment in order to align them with the international market prices.