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BTC introduces new products to ward off new entrants

With an overall subdued economic environment the telecommunication company, Botswana Telecommunication Company (BTC) has registered a decline in the ICT spends across broadband networks.

The Company Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Abel Bogatsu explained that though the company has registered declines across board with Earnings Before Tax Interests Depreciation and Amortization  (EBITDA) the only aspect remaining stable at 369 million, they have introduced new products into their existing offerings. Of all the factors that aided in the turnover of the results for the year ending March 31 2018, he has noted that the startups and some already established entrants into the market have tremendously affected their results.

The CFO highlighted that as one of the largest telecommunication service providers in the country, even with a wish to provide attractive offerings they have to properly establish how to also sustain the services. He has noted that the newly launched products will perform at much higher speeds to help grow consumer confidence and provide better.

The BTC Managing Director, Anthony Masunga noted that even though they have had to compete with hard financial times he is positive as economists foresee an economic turnaround. Even though he explained that there have registered increases from 1998, they have seen a trend change from 2016. This he noted was because dual sim-card Market has started affecting subscriptions.

Having registered profits of 217 million for the year under review compared to 2017’s 237 million; BTC has registered an 8 percent decline. The CFO commented noting that they are making substantial profits as Revenue was affected by subscription decreases citing that for a customer who normally spent P85 they now spend P65 in subscriptions.

Gross profit has grew 3 percent due to the 11 percent reduction in cost sales and the company made significant savings on transmissions and bandwidth  costs negotiated and competitive price offerings from suppliers.  A 13 percent Total comprehensive increase was registered as revaluations done on land and buildings every 3 years. The increase is cited to have been supported by investments made into the real estate industry which is growing a very fast pace. The investment is noted to have been in office refurbishments and retail store transformations.

Data usage has remained flat for the year under review and Customer Premise Equipment went down 25 percent. With a broadband market share at 68 percent usage has been noted to have registered a 4 percent growth. The MD has highlighted that the decision by the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) to register sim cards has created some kind of lubricant that enables companies to keep track and also aided in the removal of off net premiums which will aid in standard costs. He has explained that still it remains unattractive for customers to migrate regardless of reason of cheaper rates.

Even with cost of sales going down 11 percent BTC has explained that the problem is the same across the market. The Company which is in a transition from being a Parastatal to a Private company has noted that they have already started implementing reduction of some services and tariff rebalancing.  On a future basis, BTC notes that it remains optimistic about its outlook on the back of positive economic forecast and significant investments in the network, Information Technology (IT) enterprises systems, retail shops and working environments. They remain positive on economical turnover.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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