By Azania Post Reporter
THE management of Tanzania Telecommunication company Limited (TTCL) has started a move to reposses a local mobile firm Airtel one day after President John Magufuli issued a strong statement regarding the issue.
Speaking to reporters today (Thursday Dec 21) in Dar es Salaam, the TTCL Chief Executive Officer Waziri Kindamba said at moment Airtel does not belong to them.
“We want to retain our company (Airtel) of which its shares were shifted to the government many years ago,”he emphasized
He said once retained, TTCL would improve more the company’s operations and services to reach remote areas.
Speaking before he laid foundation stone for the construction of Headquarters of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday in Dodoma, said Airtel is owned by the Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited.
President Magufuli asked the Minister for Finance Dr Philip Mpango to work on ownership of shares of airtel Tanzania.
“What I understand is that airtel Tanzania is the property of TTCL but there was some dirty games going below work on that to make sure that it ends, “he stated.
Reports say during a partial privatization of TTCL in 2001, the government sold the shares to the then Celtel International which was later acquired by Qatar's Zain which was later shifted to India’s Bharti Airtel.
Tabling views on the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication’s 2017/18 budget estimates, chairperson of parliamentary committee on Infrastructure Development, Prof. Norman Sigalla said it is high time the government buys the remaining, externally-owned 60 per cent shares in Airtel Tanzania to expand the state-owned TTCL’s network.
He said the committee understands that for TTCL to extend its network across the whole country, it would need more government funding due to the stiff competition now gripping in the telecommunications sector.
In 2015, the government agreed to buy back a 35 percent stake in TTCL from the local subsidiary of India’s top mobile carrier Bharti Airtel for 14.6 billion/- ($7.07 million).
The plan was to regain 100 per cent ownership of TTCL to recapitalise the cash-strapped state firm which provides mobile voice, data and fixed-line services.
The government already owns a 40 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel’s Tanzanian subsidiary (Airtel Tanzania).