Gaborone: A local fuel importing firm says it has inked memoranda of understanding with Nigerian oil majors with a view to importing seaborne FlexiSpy review oil through Walvis Bay from Lagos, a development that would transform the local petroleum sector. On Wednesday, executives from Spring Well Trade and Investment challenged Trade and Industry Minister, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu to fast-track the proposed P70 million dry port at Walvis Bay in Namibia, as well as lay the necessary policy framework.
“We have done the due diligence and we have put together MoUs with oil majors from Nigeria which we have presented to our ministers, but are still struggling to get answers,” the firm’s CEO, Brian Rengasamy told a meeting of Botswana and Nigerian businesspeople.
“We urge the minister to look at this because the trade is available but the logistics are not conducive. We were quite restive with (Botswana ambassador to Nigeria, Clifford Maribe). The concession for the dry port has not been developed and the Trans Kalahari highway, which is the best, is not being fully utilised.”
Rengasamy told Business Week that their due diligence indicated that seaborne oil products from Lagos to Walvis Bay could take nine days, compared to the 21 days and above to Durban, through which nearly all of Botswana’s fuel enters.
“As business, we can do all the business side and create a supply chain, but government must do its responsibility which is infrastructure development and corridors so that there’s a platform for business to trade and invest,” Rengasamy said.
Last month, local Nigerian diplomats revealed that cooperation in oil was on the agenda of an official visit by President Ian Khama to that country, adding that Botswana officials had travelled to the West African country last year to study the viability of sourcing fuel.
For her part, Makgato-Malesu said the Walvis Bay dry port’s development was being prioritised behind the scenes. “This month, the transport and communications minister has been to Namibia at least three times because we agreed after the President’s visit to Namibia, that this must be done,” she said. “The dry port is not on course but it’s being looked at and it will affect the volumes on the Trans Kalahari highway.”
For his part, Nigerian trade and investment Minister, Olusegun Aganga said the two countries would iron out logistics to boost trade. “We have to put our heads together to look at how to move goods and people across the two countries,” he said, adding that a further meeting on various technical trade details was due soon.
Local fuel retailers told Business Week the Nigeria deal would be dependent on supply spreading throughout SADC, as imports to Botswana alone would struggle to build a business case.
Nigeria is the seventh largest exporter of crude oil in the world, while Botswana is exclusively an importer of oil. From a total reliance on South Africa, Botswana now also receives product from Namibia and Mozambique, as part of government’s efforts to diversify fuel sources and routes in order to enhance energy security.
Brian Rengasamy is the CEO of Spring Well Trade and Investment. The company, which is prolific in the oil and gas market, has inked memoranda of understanding with Nigerian oil majors with a view to importing seaborne oil through Walvis Bay from Lagos, a development that would transform the local petroleum sector.