Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Govt moves to privatise BTC, waits on Air Botswana

Government has reaffirmed its goal to privatize two entities Air Botswana and Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), despite concerns from civil society and politicians.
Presidential Affairs minister, Lesego Motsumi, told House of Chiefs that the structure for the divestiture for the state’s telecommunications company has been worked out.

“I would like to inform this House that cabinet has now taken a decision on the privatisation structure of BTC and the information will soon be communicated with all stakeholders. The process was delayed because the government had to carry out lengthy consultation activities with all stakeholders,” said Motsumi.

Motsumi was answering a question from agitated Kgosi Masunga Maruje III of North East who is worried about the consequences of the privatization process.

“Our aim is to minimise risks, get maximum benefits and, as such, government had to carry out such lengthy consultations.”

Opposition Botswana Congress Party is also worried about the adverse results the privatisation process of the two institutions will have and are drag the government to court.

Unlike BTC, however, Motsumi indicated the privatisation of Air Botswana would still be put on hold temporarily as government is still contemplating the way forward in the wake of the unsatisfactory bidders applied to venture into the transaction.

“With regards to Air Botswana, in 2007, the government of Botswana decided to defer the privatisation after receiving proposal from bidders that were not satisfactory and would not benefit the organisation and the economy,” she revealed.

“The government is now carrying out diagnostic review of the organisation with the intention to come up with a turnaround strategy and details for revitalization of the airline and preparation for another privatisation attempt.”

She would lament and admit the absence of privatisation transactional Act to guide the privatisation process, insisting however her ministry did manage to take through parliament a transitional act for BTC privatisation.

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