The national budget proposal for financial year 2013/14 has revealed the considerable progress that has been achieved on the privatization of some parastatals.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, on Monday addressed the nation and pointed out that the first phase of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), which involves the registration of “Botswana Fibre Networks”, new infrastructure company, and BTC Limited, the service provider, was completed in October and November, respectively.
He added that the second phase, which involves the actual separation and transfer of the infrastructure of Botswana Fibre Networks, is ongoing. Matambo stated that in August 2012, Cabinet approved the BTC separation model that is being used to guide the separation of BTC assets.
“Due to the amount of work required for the separation exercise, it will take 24 months from September 2012; issuing of allotted shares to citizens will follow thereafter,” said Matambo.
Concerning the privatization of the National Development Bank (NDB), he emphasized that the bank must first be transformed into a company limited by shares under the Companies Act. He stated that to this end, the draft NDB Transition Bill has been approved by Cabinet and is being processed for submission to Parliament.
He also gave an example of the services that were previously offered by Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and Botswana International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), which, since April 2012, have been offered by Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC).
“Progress has been made on the merger of Botswana Postal Services and Botswana Savings Bank,” he stated.
He pointed out that the relevant Bills expected to complete the merger, namely BSB Transition Bill, the Botswana Communications Regulatory Bill, and the Botswana Post Amendment Bill were passed by Parliament in August last year.
“The new name of the holding company has been approved by Government and this will facilitate the registering of the holding company, which will oversee the operations of the merged entities,” he said.
Matambo talked about the merging of the Botswana Technology Centre and Rural Industries Promotions Company, of which he noted that it has resulted in the formation of a new company known as Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation. He also revealed that the completion of the merger was delayed by negotiation process with staff of the two organizations. He added that it is expected to be finalized before the end of financial year 2012/2013.
“Strategies such as business process re-engineering continue to be undertaken to cut red tape and reduce duplication of functions in order to enhance operational efficiency,” said Matambo.
Matambo further stated that a revised Privatization Master Plan 2 covering the period 2013 for 2018 is being discussed within government. He added that the plan outlines a programme for implementation of identified outsourcing, restructuring, divestiture and performance monitoring initiatives.