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Over 15 000 Batswana buy BTCL shares

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Over 15 000 Batswana and 600 of the 900 employees of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited have already bought the Company’s shares as the Initial Public Offer (IPO) winds up this week Friday.

The Company is also anticipating large numbers of Batswana to turn up at various Barclays Bank Botswana branches nationwide for the shares before Friday’s closing date.

“At no point have we had less than 500 people per day submitting offers in the branches. In our final week now we expect to see an increase and we anticipate it to get even better,” Taylor told the media last week.

Flanked by Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) deputy chief executive Tiny Diswai-Moremi, the BTCL Chief Executive said they have worked hard to educate Batswana about the IPO.

“Educational literature has been produced in the thousands. Beyond over 30,000 prospectuses are in circulation and over 320,000 BTCL Share Application Forms printed, we have shared over 100,000 FAQs in English and Setswana, and a social media community of over 26,500 people,” said Taylor.

The offer comprises 462 000 000 shares of which 250 000 000 are to be issued and allotted by the company and 212 010 000 shares are to be sold by the selling shareholder. He said they have printed over 30 000 prospectuses in circulation, 290 000 application forms, conducted 61 public roadshows in villages and towns.

BTCL will be the first telecommunications company to be listed on Botswana Stock Exchange on April 8, 2016. “When the bell rings on 8th April at the BSE, we look forward to a new BTCL being born marking yet another important milestone for the business and indeed for Botswana. These are very exciting times ahead and we look forward to this bright new future,” said Taylor.

“It needs to be borne in mind that the Offer Period is open until the 4th of March 2016, and applications are being received until then. This means Batswana need not rush, as shares will not be distributed on a first come first served basis.”

Through the IPO government will hold a total of 49 percent of the company’s shares, 44 percent are available for purchase by citizens and citizen companies and the remaining five percent is reserved for BTCL employees through a Trust.

Taylor also explained that BTCL has about 930 employees and about 600 have applied for the shares. BTCL was converted to a registered public company limited by shares in 2012 and some of its assets were given to newly-formed Botswana Fibre Network (BoFiNet) to manage and operate on behalf of the government.

Some of the assets retained by BoFiNet include the East African Submarine System (EASSy) and the West African Cable System (WACS).

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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