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'BTCL shares only for citizens'

'BTCL shares only for citizens'

Botswana's transport and communications minister Tshenelo Mabeo has told parliament that shares for the country's fixed telephone line parastatal, due to list on the bourse this year, are exclusively for citizens.

Mabeo said the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) shares will be reserved for citizens and 100 percent citizen owned companies

"No foreigner would be allowed to buy shares either directly or indirectly," Mabeo said.

He said through project managers - Public Enterprises Evaluation & Privatization Agency (PEEPA), his ministry is in the process of implementing a robust mechanism that would ensure that citizens and citizen owned companies trade the BTCL shares exclusively amongst themselves.

The BTCL IPO has been deferred several times, owing to a number of considerations, according to the ministry of transport and communication.

Government wants 44% of the company's shares to be available for purchase by citizens and citizen companies, while 5% will be retained for BTCL employees and government plans holding a 51% share of BTCL.

Government says the core mandate of the IPO is to deliver an IPO that allows maximum potential for citizen participation.

BTCL is a parastatal that has been operational since 1980 and has been financially unstable in recent years. Government is considering a privatisation move to spur its growth.

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