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 Group Sustainability Report released

MTN Group’s efforts to advance social development in its markets through the integration of sustainable business practices into day-to-day activities, is yielding positive outcomes, the company’s Sustainability Report shows. Read More

Senegal seeking ICT investment opportunities in Mauritania

Mauritania, an impoverished nation in West Africa, is a largely untapped ICT market, according to many Senegalese industry players. A group of ICT companies from Senegal recently visited Mauritania to find out if this statement is indeed true. Read More

Schneider Electric releases the first survey on counterfeit electrical products in Africa

Counterfeiting of most common electrical products is widely spread in all African countries, representing 40% to 80% of their markets, says a new survey. Read More

MTN Business launches services that will host SMEs securely on its domain

MTN Business has launched Bring Your Business Online, a platform that gives small and medium-sized businesses (SME) increased visibility by providing online presence on the MTN managed domain for less than R20 a month. Read More

Job fears in Senegal as Tigo outsources network management

People working for Tigo Senegal are worried about their jobs after the mobile operator signed an agreement that handed over the management of its network to the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. Read More

JUMIA Côte d’Ivoire expands its operations

JUMIA has opened six new hubs in Cote d’Ivoire in the cities of Yamoussoukro, Bouaké, San Pedro, Daloa, Gagnoa, and Korogho.  Read More

US firm Actifio drives into African markets

US based company Actifio, which specialises in copy data virtualisation, has revealed its plans for the expansion of its footprint in the African markets. Read More

Richard Edet appointed Country Senior Officer for Alcatel-Lucent Nigeria

Alcatel-Lucent has announced the appointment of Richard Edet, effective today, as Country Senior Officer and managing director for Nigeria. Read More

Africans to surge up the ranks of ultra-high-net-worth individuals

The number of ultra-high net worth individuals – those with at least $30 million in assets – in Africa will increase by a staggering 59% over the next 10 years, stronger than the 34% projected global growth. Read More

Villagers get solar training at Barefoot College

The Botswana Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has seconded seven semi-illiterate mostly Ngwatle villagers for a six month solar electrification training course at the famed Barefoot College in India.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

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

FEATURED STORY

2bn priced out of internet access2bn priced out of internet access

A new report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that the price of broadband remains prohibitive for billions in developing and emerging countries, with women and rural dwellers hardest hit.

IN DEPTH

Villagers get solar training at Barefoot College Villagers get solar training at Barefoot College

The Botswana Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has seconded seven semi-illiterate mostly Ngwatle villagers for a six month solar electrification training course at the famed Barefoot College in India.