The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises wants the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) to defer its much-anticipated privatisation.
The Committee feels that the December time frame was too soon since the corporation is faced with many challenges even though the BTCL managing director, Paul Taylor insisted that it was still possible for the exercise to be done two months from now.
The committee asked the MD if they should ask the Minister to revise the time frames so that they can implement the privatisation without much pressure. “It would be a disaster if we miss the date, but the privatisation is possible even though there are some challenges that can hinder us to meet the set date. There are a number of approvals that need to be done, so if giving me more time will decrease the risk, I do agree,” Taylor told the Committee last Friday.
He said the process has been delayed as citizens, who have been reserved 49% of the shares, have indicated that they do not have the funds to acquire them.
Under the BTCL Initial Public Offering (IPO), the government was to sell 49% of its shares to the public with five percent reserved for BTCL employees.
According to Taylor, the Ministry of Transport and Communications had set aside P8 million for the privatisation process, which he believed was sufficient. Initially penciled for August 2011, the IPO launch has undergone a series of postponements. It was first postponed to 2012 and then later pushed to August 2014 before it was again deferred to December 31, 2014.