Shareholders of the telecommunications company Telecel Zimbabwe have approached the government to resolve issues surrounding its licencing and non-compliance with local ownership regulations, the company said today.
Dutch-headquartered communications firm VimpelCom has a 60 percent shareholding in Telecel, with the remainder in the hands of a consortium of local, increasingly fractious, investors.
Government last month cancelled an agreement with the firm which allowed it to operate without paying $137.5 million to renew its operating licence.
ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira on Wednesday announced the government had resolved to stop Telecel operations in the country over its failure to obtain a licence.
“Telecel Zimbabwe has taken the government’s recent announcement on its licensing and shareholding non-compliance, very seriously. Our shareholders are engaging with relevant stakeholders and are working closely and tirelessly with all key authorities to find a lasting solution to the issue,” the company said in a statement.
“We remain fully committed to Zimbabwe and to working with the government in order to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements within the agreed timeframe.”
Mandiwanzira said today that he was not in a position to comment on the issue.
Telecel is the third largest mobile operator in the country with just over two million subscribers according to latest official data.
Last month, the shareholders also said they were ready to resolve the shareholding dispute involving Empowerment Corporation (EC) and have engaged various ministries to end the squabbles.
EC chairman James Makamba said the recent shareholding disputes in EC were due to the inability by some shareholders to raise capital to fund the cellular network project at inception and had opted out.
EC holds 40 percent stake at Telecel and its composed of , Affirmative Action Group (AAG), Indigenous Business Women Organization (IBWO), Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZLWVNA), Zimbabwe (SS) Miners Association, Kestrel Corporation (Private) Limited and Integrated Engineering Group.-The Source