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

Further African expansion for Phoenix

Phoenix Distribution, a leading broad-based distributor on the African continent, has expanded its office in Nairobi, Kenya, in a move to better serve its partners in East Africa.  Read More

Garmin seeks business partners in West Africa

Garmin is hosting a trade delegation in Accra, Ghana from the 12th to 16th May 2014. Read More

Orange Telkom not closing Kenya business: Ghossein

Speculation that Orange Telkom Kenya would be closing its Kenyan operations has been put to rest. Read More

Dimension Data enters Ghana’s IT market

Dimension Data, a South Africa-based ICT solutions and services provider, has announced its entry into the Ghanaian ICT market. Read More

Glo rewards business partners

Globacom has showered 53 high-end vehicles and other prizes on its trade partners responsible for distributing Globacom’s products and services across Nigeria. Read More

Worldwide PC shipments decline

Worldwide PC shipments totalled 76.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.7 per cent decline from the first quarter of 2013, according to preliminary results by Gartner Read More

Axis Solutions becomes first VMware Premier Partner in the WECA Region

Axis Solutions, a Pan-African ICT solutions provider headquartered in Harare Zimbabwe, is the first VMware partner to become a Premier Partner within the WECA region.   Read More

Nigeria to spur Oracle's African drive

Oracle Corporation has assured that Nigeria will be the centerpiece of its developmental drive in Africa. Read More

Pivot East nurtures promising startups

Pivot East, an innovative mobile web competition geared towards nurturing the growing ICT talent in East Africa, is providing an ideal platform to grow mobile web startups. Read More

Phoenix Distribution unveils new, interactive website

Phoenix Distribution, currently the leading value added software and CES distributor across the African continent, has redesigned its website, making it easier to use for clients and partners alike. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN Business

FEATURED STORY

Kenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030 Kenyan shift to Green Economy would generate USD 45bn by 2030

Kenya’s transition to a green economy could produce major economic benefits  equivalent to an estimated USD 45 billion by 2030, a new  study shows.

IN DEPTH

E-waste threatens Ghana’s beachesE-waste threatens Ghana’s beaches

Many beaches in Ghana, already stressed by pollution and poor maintenance, are now facing a new threat: e-waste.