NWU expertise fuels Botswana energy sector
The North-West University (NWU) will assist Botswana’s Department of Energy Affairs to investigate and establish a fair fuel profit margin. This follows the signing of what has been hailed as the biggest contract that the North-West University School of Business and Governance (NWU-SBG) has ever received.
Mr Herman Thom of the NWU’s Small Business Advisory Bureau (SBAB) is the programme leader for the project. He says they have been appointed for a three-year period to implement a retail margin model, as well as to develop and implement a similar model for the oil industry in Botswana.
“Some of the major future challenges of the industry will be to maintain a favourable market environment, which will sustain employment, give room for entrepreneurial development and secure investment in the country. The availability of sufficient supplies of fuel and related products is equally important,” he says.
“We firstly have to develop and implement the new model for Botswana’s wholesale fuel industry. This model will have to guide them in determining a fair profit margin.”
He says the NWU-SGB will also be working with fuel retailers and fuel station owners in Botswana. This follows the work done three years ago to develop a model for the Botswana retail industry. “We now also have to investigate what the fair profit margin for them should be because the profit margin is regulated by their government.”
He says what makes him and his fellow consultant, Mr William van der Merwe, especially excited about the mammoth task that lies ahead is knowing that they will make essential contributions towards keeping one of the biggest industries in Botswana economically viable.
“It will bring further stability to the Botswana fuel industry. It will also help to protect all the role-players and give guidelines to ensure that everyone in the industry receives fair compensation.”
Over the next three to four months, the two consultants will spend at least 70 nights in Botswana. They will travel from town to town doing research and investigations at 60 of the more than 200 fuel stations in Botswana.
Prof Tommy du Plessis, director of the NWU-SBG, says the school and SBAB have extensive experience in this regard. “We have been doing fuel-related investigations since 1997 locally and in Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho and take pride in our expertise.”
In 2015, the SBAB’s mandate for Namibia was expanded to include the modelling and determination of the wholesale margin of fuel for the oil industry in Namibia. This mandate has been extended to 2019.
“This is a great opportunity to establish the good reputation of the NWU in Botswana. It is a wonderful marketing opportunity for the NWU-SBG. This contract is a welcome and much-needed cash injection for the NWU-SBG.”
A historical moment. All role-players in the Botswana fuel industry came together for the signing of the contract between Botswana’s Department of Energy Affairs and the NWU’s Small Business Advisory Bureau (SBAB).