Cabinet is yet to be presented with the new management contract for Air Botswana by International Development Ireland (IDI), Mmegi has learnt.
Said the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Baledzi Gaolathe, in his budget speech four weeks ago: "Government started fresh negotiations with IDI, which have successfully been concluded and it is expected that the management contract will start by April 2009."
However, the new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Carter Morupisi, yesterday said he was not in a position to discuss the contract between the government and IDI because the two parties were yet to sign an agreement.Morupisi said Cabinet was yet to be furnished with the report in order to decide a way forward."We are hoping it will be finalised April 1," he said. "It has been debated, and the ministry is taking it to Cabinet for endorsement."The Permanent Secretary said he was optimistic that the management contract would be signed
"The intention is to assist Air Botswana to improve its operational efficiency in order to stand on its own," Morupisi said.
But it remains to be seen whether the Cabinet will accept the terms of the contract as drawn by the Ministry of Transport.
Last year, Cabinet turned down a proposed Air Botswana management contract with South Africa's ComAir negotiated by the Public Enterprise Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA).
In his budget speech, Minister Gaolathe noted that Air Botswana had improved significantly, recording a net profit ratio of nine percent over the last year, compared to a loss of 24 percent in 2007.
The airline moved from a net loss of P39.9 million to a net profit of P17.5 million, mainly on account of increased passenger revenue.