BTC privatisation halfway

BUSINESS

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
BTC privatisation halfway

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Part two of three critical stages of the privatisation of the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), which is the registration of a state company to manage the telecommunications backbone currently held by the utility, is nearing completion.

Briefing journalists, Transport and Communications Minister, Nonofo Molefhi said that Cabinet has identified the telecommunications infrastructure that the company, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), will control.

As registration of the SPV continues, the minister revealed that the BTC would initially bankroll the infrastructure company until such a time it could be taken away and become self-liquidating.

"The SPV is part of the BTC's privatisation and the corporation has some funds that will, for the time being, facilitate this SPV," he said in response to Business Week enquiries at the media briefing. "When the time comes for us to separate the functions and other resources, we may need government to provide subventions.

"For the time being, however, the entire process is being done by the BTC to help it stand on its own feet."

The registration, separation and establishment of the SPV forms the second stage of the BTC's privatisation being intended to distinguish between the BTC as a retail service provider from its former role, which also included wholesale activities. The third and final stage involves the issue of BTC shares to the public and the utility's listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

After completion, the second stage sees the BTC competing with Mascom and Orange in service provision, with all players procuring network space from the SPV. "Government's intention is to create a level playing field within the telecommunications sector to encourage efficiency in delivery of services and diversification of products as well as to reduce prices and tariffs through fair competition," Nonofo said.

According to the minister, "The decision on the form of separation of the identified network assets and operations from BTC Limited to the new infrastructure company gives momentum to the implementation of stage two of the privatisation process."

Some of the assets approved by Cabinet for the SPV include the Trans-Kalahari Optical Fibre, and other similar systems, the Dense Wave Division Multiplex fibre system and both the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and the West Africa Cable System (WACS).

Government linked the country to both EASSy and WACS in the last two years at a combined cost of about USD43 million, bringing lightning speed, reliable and high capacity internet services to local users.

However, the minister warned that the separation of the SPV's assets and business processes could take time, potentially between 18 and 24 months. "It may take a while because there are other key stakeholders and we require buy-in in all processes," he said.

"There are human faces in this - being people working for the BTC - and during separation some will go to the new company together with the assets and services. Our engagement with the unions is ongoing so that they understand the extent of the process and the packages in terms of what product goes where, and the jurisdiction of the services provided."

Most of the SPV's staff will come from the BTC, with the newly appointed board and executive management making up the full personnel structure. Special Purpose Vehicle board of directors (SPV) board consist of Board Chairman Ratsela Mooketsi and board members are Malebogo Mpugwa, Dr Pauline Sebina, Marvin Torto, Letsebe Sejoe, Ditirwa Mphoeng, and the acting CEO is Keabetswe Segole.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

MTN Business launches Supplier Development Programme in Mpumalanga

MTN Business has reaffirmed its commitment to develop small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within Nelspruit by extending its Supplier Development Programme (SDP) and Accelerator Programme (AP), the company’s enterprise development initiatives, to the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.  Read More

VMware appoints Senior Vice President and GM of EMEA

VMware, a global leader in cloud infrastructure and business mobility, today announced the appointment of Jean-Pierre Brulard as Senior Vice President and General Manager of EMEA.  Read More

InfoGraphics chief urges investment in tech start-ups

The Managing Director of InfoGraphics Nigeria, Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, has urged wealthy Nigerians to invest in tech start-ups. Read More

Convergence Partners acquires stake in Nigerian Fintech firm

Convergence Partners has announced an investment of $20m for a strategic, minority stake in Venture Garden Nigeria. Read More

MTN Business augments its management team further with key strategic appointment

MTN Business SA has appointed an industry veteran, Mariana Kruger, as General Manager of Private Sector.  Read More

SA Competition Tribunal approves Telkom-BCX merger

Business Connexion Group Limited has announced that the Competition Tribunal of South Africa has approved the proposed merger between Business Connexion Group Limited ("BCX") and Telkom SA SOC Limited ("Telkom") with the imposition of conditions. Read More

Kenyan SACCOS riding on innovation to attract customers

As confidence in mainstream banks remains low due to prohibitive interest rates, customers are embracing Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) as an alternative. Read More

BITC invites ICT investors

The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) is casting its net wide to appeal to players in the Information Technology sector to invest in the country. Read More

Yudala ‘an unstoppable movement’

Yudala VP Stanley Uzoechina, Access Bank CEO Herbert Wigwe and Zinox CEO Leo Stan-Ekeh The opening of Yudala outlets, combining an online shopping platform with retail stores, has been described as a game-changer in Nigeria. Read More

Travelport, TTS sign reseller agreement for Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region

Travelport and TTS have signed a sales and distribution agreement for TTS products in the Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

Young innovators shine during pitch sessionsYoung innovators shine during pitch sessions

Botswana saw an array of upcoming tech wizards selling their ideas during the Vendors’ Day pitch sessions this week.

IN DEPTH

High tech homes: Just press playHigh tech homes: Just press play

High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.