As the clock clicks towards the launch of Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited (BTCL) Initial Public Offering (IPO) there have been some concerns in some quarters that the listing might be postponed again. One of the reasons forwarded is that the listing of BTCL comes at a wrong time as most Batswana will be on celebratory mood and won’t be able to buy the 49% shares reserved for citizens and citizen-owned companies. The Minister of Transport and Communications Tshenolo Mabeo has however allayed fears that the BTCL IPO might be postponed again, saying that everything is in place to ensure that the telecommunication company is listed at Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).
“This will be the first government Parastatal to be privatised and I have been working with the team all along. Postponement has never been part of the agenda,” said the confident Mabeo. He said that he has never walked a distance away from the BTCL team, saying he wanted to ensure that every issue is addressed. Mabeo revealed that cabinet has tasked him to make sure that by the end of this year, BTCL is listed on BSE, “and I have cancelled my trip to Canada to make sure this project comes to fruition.” The BTCL IPO has been postponed in numerous occasions. Mabeo said one of the reasons that led to the deferment was that they didn’t secure an underwriter.
On why they chose December which is a celebratory month and people are more concerned with festive season, Mabeo said that they didn’t have any choice and was quick to add that they have asked BSE to extend the IPO to February. “We hope that by end of January most of Batswana will be settled and be able to buy the shares,” he said. He revealed that they have budgeted P5 million which will be used for marketing and publicity to educate Batswana about buying BTCL shares. Some of the activities to be done to educate the nation according to Mabeo include roadshows and use of both print and electronic media.