Air Botswana, NDB line up for recapitalisation

High in the sky: Air Botswana is eyeing a turnaround PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
High in the sky: Air Botswana is eyeing a turnaround PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

State-owned entities, Air Botswana and the National Development Bank (NDB) are set to receive cash injections from the government totalling P621 million in the upcoming financial year, BusinessWeek has learnt.

Figures from the Ministry of Finance’s draft budget estimates published on Tuesday show that Air Botswana, the country’s troubled national airline, is scheduled to receive a bailout of P121 million in the 2024-2025 financial year. This follows an allocation of P166 million in the current year, also for a bailout.

The funding is part of the ongoing government rescue missions for the airline, which has faced decades of unprofitability exacerbated by the global travel bans resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivering the budget speech on Monday, Finance Minister Peggy Serame stated that most of the funds allocated to the struggling airline would go towards infrastructure improvements and maintenance. “The air projects to be catered for include maintenance of airports, improvement of surveillance of Botswana airspace, upgrading of air navigation services infrastructure, installation and improvement of airport security systems, mandatory engines replacement, procurement of airport safety equipment as well as improvement of existing airport security and safety,” she said. Air Botswana’s development funding in the Transitional National Development Plan has been revised to P702.7 million over the two years of the plan, from an initial allocation of P133.6 million. Meanwhile, the NDB will receive at least P500 million in the coming financial year for its recapitalisation. However, unlike Air Botswana, the additional funding is to support NDB’s transformation into a commercial agricultural bank as envisioned by the Temo Letlotlo inputs programme.

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