Saturday, October 16, 2021

New CEO plans to revamp ailing Botswana Railways

Pledging to overhaul Botswana Railways back into sustainable profits, the company’s newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer, Dominic Ntwaagae, has revealed his ambition to make BR a safe, efficient, competitive and value-for-money rail transport system.

Ntwaagae told Sunday Standard this week that he will move to promote positive industrial relations and create a culture for the corporation to become a highly productive environment.

Among other things, his role will be to promote the business of BR with key stakeholders and neighboring railway administrations.

The new CEO has been appointed on the back of sterling work within the parastatal. He saved the troubled company about P25 million in settlement agreement costs on the Safeworking System Project.

Initial exposure to BR on the matter was P29.9 million in penalties whereas the final settlement ended up being only P4.5 million in 2008.

“I was involved in the construction supervision for the Rail Park mall in 2011; the project was valued at P22 million,” said Ntwaagae of his previous engagements.

Acknowledging that the top job comes with pressure, Ntwaagae said the key is for him to adapt and allow appropriate growth levels. He stated that he would position the organization to provide clients and customers with reliable service.

Pointing out the importance of a sound business management system, the new CEO said he will aim for best business decisions by promoting teamwork, and improve productivity by monitoring and setting challenging goals.

“We have normal business challenges that do not necessarily interfere with the operations here,” he said.

Ntwaagae said the BR business model will be based on improving the unit cost of production, reducing inefficiencies and streamlining processes.

Beyond bringing profits back to BR, he outlined his task to review returns on investment and give strategic direction with regard to maximising returns.

He has assumed the top railways job in time to implement the decision to reintroduce the passenger train service, which was suspended as BR was clouded by losses. He said resumption of passenger trains would “ease traffic, providing alternative mode of transport”.

Ntwaagae was officially appointed to his new position on April 1, following the sacking of Taolo Sebonego last October.

He had acted as CEO for six months prior to his appointment as substantive chief executive. Previously, he had served as the Director of Engineering Services. His renewable work contract is for three years.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper