Saturday, May 15, 2021

BTCL pledges to help Francistown turn around its fortunes

The Managing Director of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) Paul Taylor has pledged that his organisation will do its best in helping Francistown attract investors and turn around its fortunes.
Speaking during the recent Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) Northern Trade Fair, Taylor said that his organisation will play its part in its endeavour to promote and grow businesses in the second city.
“It is clear that attracting investors to Francistown will not be without challenges, but I am optimistic that it can be done. We must all work with the leadership to bring to life the Francistown investment master plan dubbed vision 2022. Let us embrace initiatives that will transform this city by learning and emulating those who have already similarly transformed their economies,” he said.
He hailed the Francistown leadership for working hard in bringing developments into the city as evidenced by the ongoing construction of the spaghetti junction and the Tonota ÔÇô Francistown road. Touching on his organisation, he said BTCL as the nation’s foremost provider of Information Communication Technology (ICT) plays an important role in the national economy.
“ICT is vital not only for our economic growth, but also helps countries and cities to remain competitive within the increasingly information oriented global economy. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Botswana ranks today as one of the top five countries for ICT in Africa, “ he said.
He further said BTCL takes pride to be part of the BOCCIM Northern Trade Fair, as the event allows the organisation to showcase some of its innovative product offerings. Taylor also said that BTCL has made some developments aimed at enhancing and promoting national economic growth. Amongst others, he said BTCL has recently reduced rates at an average of 10 percent for leased lines and 57 percent for International Private leased Circuits.
“Our Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is the third least expensive, on a like for like basis across SADC. Similarly BOCRA analysis using the ITU methodology shows beMobile as the third least expensive operator in SADC,” said Taylor.
He also revealed that BTCL has invested P90 million for the year 2014/2015 to enhance its mobile network infrastructure. He said the investment is geared at improving customer experience. He also explained that the organisation did not only add more sites, but improved network capability to handle next generation technologies.
Touching on the BOCCIM theme, “Value Creation through Innovative Partnerships” he said the theme came at the right time as BTCL has recently entered into a new strategic partner agreement with Vodafone, one of the world’s leading providers of mobile and broadband services.
“Under the non-equity partnership agreement, BTCL becomes Vodafone’s preferred partner in Botswana. This means that together with Vodafone we will jointly offer businesses and consumers a range of products allowing us to better differentiate against competition while delivering innovative communications solutions,” he said.
He said significant further investment is planned in BTCL’s mobile networks for the year 2015/16 for further 3G enhancements and 4G mobile roll out. On the long awaited privatisation process, by BTC, Taylor said they are still to finalise the revised dates for the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of BTCL shares. He said a number of activities amongst others securing financing for underwriting, updating the prospectus, share split and valuation need to be concluded before an exact date can be announced.
“We however anticipate that the IPO offer opening date will be in the middle of the 2015/16 fiscal year,” he added.
On other developments he said they have through the Nteletsa Project installed 148 Kitsong Centres which sell airtime, provide internet access, fax, photocopy, amongst others in the remote parts of Botswana.
“We also continue to give back to the community as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. Earlier this year we supported the Francistown Marathon to raise funds for charity. I want to believe local businesses benefited greatly from such an initiative as well as the charitable organisations yet to be chosen,” he said.

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