Govt finances Lake Ngami trust

| January 21, 2016

The government has given P4 million to the newly formed Lake Ngami Conservation Trust to finalise all the logistics and start operations.

Ngami constituency MP, Mr Thato Kwerepe informed residents during a kgotla meeting that the government has assisted the trust financially and questioned the delay to start developments.

The trust, situated in Sehithwa, was supposed to have started  operations last March but failed because it had no resources to open an office.

Mr Kwerepe said the trust could have done something by now as fishing was suspended last year to pave way for the trust to put its house in order and get ready to take control of the lake.

The trust was also to come up with solutions to address environmental concerns caused by fishermen at the lake. 

He requested the trust chairperson to give an explanation to residents on why there was a delay as the expectation was that the development should be complete before the next fishing season.

For his part, the chairperson, Mr Frisco Gabokakangwe confirmed that the Office of the President came to their rescue financially, adding that the funds have been channeled to the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and that the money was under the custody of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO).

He said there was a delay to implement projects in the pipeline because an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study had to be conducted before developments could commence.

He also explained that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) volunteered to conduct the study but delayed.

 He also revealed that to access funding from BTO was a long process, noting that they submitted their proposals last November to set up an office, but that their proposal was approved this year.

“It is so frustrating because BTO takes time to do a purchase order. 

I wish the funds could be transferred to the trust account for easy implementation of the projects,” he said.

Mr Gabokakangwe noted that BTO has to identify areas where they could put up developments and submit them to the land board. 

He said efforts have been made to open up an office. He assured residents that the fishing season would resume in March this year, adding that temporary measures would be put in place to regulate fishing at the lake.

The trust intends to put up temporary camp sites and hire toilets to address issues of the environment while waiting for the EIA. 

However, the area MP urged the trust to up its game and ensure that the funds were utilised for the benefit of the affected communities. BOPA


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