First of all I would like to state what an honour it is for me to be a part of this fantastic moment in our National history. I am privileged to stand here today and set in motion the final steps towards a privatised Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited. This Project has been in the pipeline for many years and now it has become a reality. The Government of Botswana has always envisaged seeing more Batswana partake in a pinnacle moment in the history of BTCL and our local economy. That day has come and we are about to see history unfold right before our eyes. Let me hasten to acknowledge and thank the team that has got us here today for their extensive efforts. The Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) has been the organisation leading the implementation of this Initial Public Offering, or IPO.
This was in collaboration with my Ministry, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and of course, BTCL itself. Helping them were a number of Consultants who have dedicated an incredible amount of their seasoned skills to perfecting this privatisation projects. I have been informed that a significant number of the members of the various organisations involved were our very own Batswana utilising Botswana suppliers and partners to deliver this project. I am particularly proud to note this. The journey has not been without its trying moments. Key factors that we had to address included: Having new legislation passed that enabled Government to be able to offer shares to the public; The finalisation of securing an underwriter for a project of this magnitude; Ensuring that Batswana would have sufficient time during which to prepare themselves to participate in this historic transaction.
This includes time to ensure adequate understanding and financial preparation to invest in BTCL; and we have completed all the complex and important steps needed to be able to fulfil the Companies Act and the Botswana Stock Exchange. I am delighted to inform you that nearly a decade of hard work, sweat, dedication, skill and passion has been sown into privatising BTCL. Today I can stand here and declare that we are done and ready to offer BTCL shares to Citizens of Botswana. This Prospectus is memorabilia that attests to the collective successes of many men and women. Through the BTCL IPO we have said yes as the Government to the privatization agenda of Botswana. We have said yes to the empowerment of Batswana through ownership of BTCL.
Today history has been made. This IPO is the finale of the privatisation of one of the largest State Owned Companies in Botswana. Together, we are witnessing the fruits of Government’s Privatisation Policy and the Privatisation Model that has been adopted. The privatisation of BTCL, beginning with this IPO, has been a process that has evolved with time. This project has seen the days of different Government Ministers and even changes of actual Ministries. This privatisation project necessitated the reconstitution of the former BTC. The BTCL IPO will make history even on the Botswana Stock Exchange. It is the first offer reserved specifically for citizens. This IPO is a melting pot of the rich history of Botswana. It will open new avenues through its unique citizen-centric design. It has challenged status quos through its design for uptake by a wide spectrum of citizens and 100% citizen owned businesses from all walks of life across Botswana.
It is a historic feat, which I am certainly proud to have been a part of bringing to pass. This is truly an empowerment initiative that will help many Batswana take their first steps towards shareholding as a method of wealth creation for their futures and that of their children. This IPO is underpinned by Government’s strong drive towards empowering Batswana. We decided to open this offer to citizens as a means to increase direct participation of Batswana in owning more national assets. This is in line with the objectives of our Privatisation Policy. This IPO will contribute significantly to the diversification of our economy. Now more Batswana can participate in an industry that is not just diamond mining or producing beef. Through working with such entities as Botswana Stock Exchange, we are changing the economic landscape of the country one step at a time.
The BTCL Prospectus will be available for all Batswana to access from today onwards from various platforms starting with electronic version online, followed by print copies available nation wide from the 11th January 2016, at all Barclays Bank and BTCL Branches. We will also have selected branches of Botswana Post and Choppies carrying copies. The prospectus will be published online at www.btc.bw and www.gov.bw. Please note that you will only be able to submit your application for offer at Barclays Bank from the 11th January 2016. I will not attempt to provide you will all the details of what is in this Prospectus, but I wish to however state that the Prospectus discloses key details about the BTCL and its growth strategy. It also provides information on the enterprise value and share price. Government has set the BTCL Share Offer Price at P1.00 per share.
This price was computed in line enterprise value. We fully believe that this price will encourage maximum participation of Batswana in owning this national asset. An asset that we are confident, will appreciate with time, thus creating long-term value those that are shareholders. We believe that at one Pula (P1.00) per share with a minimum offer of one thousand pula (P1000.00) we can expect a significant uptake from Batswana for the BTCL shares. We have an offer period of eight weeks in which offers can be received. Besides the extra year that Batswana have had to ready themselves, we firmly believe that if a Motswana is serious about their future they will seek methods of raising the minimum one thousand pula (P1000). The sale of say 2 goats will provide this for instance. We suggest Batswana explore all their options to invest in these shares so that they are part and parcel of the future of BTCL.
This IPO also brings with it greater financial and economic inclusion. Now more Batswana will be included in the activities of the local market no matter what educational or social background they come from. During this Offer Open period each and every Motswana is equal. Now that the Prospectus will be available, I encourage Batswana to take their time and carefully go through the document over the coming weeks. When we come to the Offer Closing date which is planned for the 4th March 2016, I trust Batswana will have had the time to make an informed decision to offer to buy these shares. The IPO team has been sharing information on various platforms. This has been done through my Ministry, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, PEEPA and BTCL with the valued support of the local media.
We are committed to maximising Batswana participation in this IPO. Road shows will be conducted across the country from January 2016. These road shows are part of our continued efforts to reach every corner of the country. We really mean it when we say that this IPO ke ya rona, rotlhe. The time has come for Batswana to own shares in BTCL because it is theirs too. It is yours. It is ours. We say the IPO ke ya rona rotlhe because it is intended to reach and benefit Batswana. Batswana customers, who have paid for services, can now say they too own a share of BTCL. Our citizen workforce, from our youths to our long serving staff, you too can now own a portion of this Corporation that you work for. Today we have indeed made history. The BTCL IPO is here and it belongs to us all. Ke ya rona rotlhe!!!
*This is part of the Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo’s IPO launch speech on December 21, 2015