Following the opening of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) recently, the Village Development Committee (VDC) of Morwa Village is said to be considering making an offer of purchase of a sizeable number of shares from the telecommunications company. Morwa Village is located in the Kgatleng district, a few kilometers from Mochudi and the capital Gaborone.
In a recent interview, Morwa VDC chairperson Jane Madisa said “my committee has considered buying those shares following a suggestion made by some villagers”.
She said though the committee has not received any training on how the stock exchange operates, they have been able read the BTCL prospectus and fully understand what it requires.
“The prospectus is very easy to understand,” she said
Madisa believes that purchasing BTCL shares will be a big step towards village development as they will be a long time investment.
“At this juncture I would not want to divulge the exact amount of money that the committee has proposed,” she said.
Madisa also urged district councils to make it a habit that to orientate VDCs on how to invest their funds because some VDCs have a lot of money. In a separate interview, Headman of Oodi Village revealed that his VDC has handles substantial amounts of money, estimated at close to P500 000, which they used to construct a day care centre without any finical assistance from the council. He said it was of paramount importance for VDC members to be taught how such investments work so that people can make informed decisions. Meanwhile, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Local Government, Botlhogile Tshireletso has advised various VDC’s across the country to consider purchasing the on-sale shares. Tshireletso said it is evident that most VDCs have huge amounts of money that is just sitting idle in banks.
“I encourage all VDCs throughout the country to consider purchasing BTCL shares, especially those that have huge amounts of money as it will be of beneficiary in the future.”
She further said it is unfortunate that VDCs have not been oriented on purchasing of shares, but added that all is not lost as most VDC members are learned people; which makes it easy for them to source information that they can share among themselves, or engage an expert on their own.
“What delights me is the fact that nowadays most VDCs are run professionally and there is accountability. That brings hope that VDCs are still relevant,” she said.
Economist lecturer at the University of Botswana, Obonye Galebotswe shared the same sentiments with Tshireletso. Galebotswe’s only worry is whether such organizations are being run properly especially on how they handle their funds.