Gov’t set to sell stakes in 20 top companies

The Government’s privatization programme appears to be moving into high gear with the highly anticipated decision by Government sell its stake in 20 top companies , The Business Times has learnt.
RDB's John Gara, who institution is set to oversee the privatisation of selected companies (File Photo)
RDB's John Gara, who institution is set to oversee the privatisation of selected companies (File Photo)

The Government’s privatization programme appears to be moving into high gear with the highly anticipated decision by Government sell its stake in 20 top companies , The Business Times has learnt.

Through an information memorandum availed exclusively to The Business  Times , Rwanda Development Board (RDB)’s Asset and Business Development Department says that Government’s stakes in some of top Rwandan  companies including stakes in telecoms, banking and agricultural companies is  awaiting a firm decision by Government before such stakes are put up for sale.

Among the top 20 companies earmarked and awaiting for the decision to be privatized are MTN Rwanda in which Government has a stake of 10 percent, Bank de Kigali (BK) in which government holds a majority 80 percent stake and BRD where Government holding is at 28 percent.

Government also plans to sell 30 percent shareholding in the top beverage manufacturer Bralirwa which is on course with the first ever Initial Public offering (IPO).
Experts at the Rwanda Capital Markets Advisory Council (CMAC) say that the current exercise of the Bralirwa IPO pre-offer ahead is an  indicator of  an elaborate plan to increase activities related to privatization.

Others awaiting the decision include Government’s 99 percent shareholding in the national carrier RwandAir and public transport service provider Onatracom which is fully owned by Government.

The information memorandum from RDB states that so far over 50 companies have been awarded to private investors since the privatization programme kicked off in 1996.
“Since privatization programme started around 56 companies were fully privatized, 7 companies were liquidated, 10 are still under privatization within the  different phases of privatization process and 20 companies are awaiting decision to be privatized”, the report states in part.

Experts say that one of the planned avenues   for the privatization is through the capital market which is set for further revamping with the establishment of a legal framework that is still in parliament.

Three bills currently in parliament are expected to be passed to give way to the establishment and operations of The Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSA) which will most likely be used by Government to transact the sale of these assets, according to CMAC officials.

“The enactment into law of the three bills still in parliament will give effect to establishment and operations of the Rwanda Stock Exchange which will ultimately render such transactions surrounding the privatization of key Government assets,” Celesine Rwabakumba Operations Manager at CMAC told The Business Times.

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