Wednesday, September 23, 2020

V.T Seretse undergoes a change of heart over privatisation and liberalisation

Botswana Telecommunications Chief Executive Officer V.T Seretse has become the latest convert to the processes of liberalization and privatization in the telecommunications industry.

While eight months ago he was opposed the processes with adamant resolve saying they would undermine BTC profitability, this week Seretse was upbeat and preaching the two exercises with new found zeal.

At a press conference he addressed Seretse spoke highly and kindly of the two processes.
Making attempts to account for his change of heart, Seretse said his initial opposition to liberalisational and privatization was “philosophical.”

Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that Seretse’s change of heart is a result of persuasion and threats by his political master, Minister of Communications Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

He said his stance was borne out of the reasoning of which of the two (privatisation or liberalization) was to precede the other.
He would have preferred that privatisation came ahead of privatisation.

He conceded that he tried and failed to convince the authorities (the board and directors) that BTC should be privatized before the telecommunications industry in Botswana was fully privatized.

Seretse was so convinced of the correctness of his model that he openly clashed with the BTA (Botswana Telecommunications Authority) Chief Executive C.M. Lekaukau over the matter at a stakeholders meeting called to discuss the process of liberalization.

At a press conference he addressed this week, Seretse conceded that he has failed to convince the authorities (government and the board) to buy his line.

“We have to do our utmost to get the best out of the situation.”

Announcing the Telco’s most impressive results in about seven years, he said BTC has never been more prepared for both processes.

“As in everything else you lose some and gain some,” he said in reference to the fact that his corporation has already applied for a mobile license.

In fact he went further to say
Two months ago Minister for Communications, Venson-Moitoi surprised everyone else when she unilaterally announced full liberalization of the telecommunications industry.

The minister went further by adding that BTC Executives have to stop brooding over the impact such liberalization is likely to have on them but look out for new ways to benefit from the unfolding dispensation.

He said he now has no option but to implement the policies as outlined by both government and the board of directors.

A number of companies among them the South African Telkom have already expressed interest in buying a stake in BTC when it finally privatized.
Sunday Standard can confirm that Telkom executives have been meeting government officials over the issue as a way of preparing themselves for the eventuality.

In the recent past the privatisation agency (PEEPA) issued invitations for the transaction advisors of the process.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.