Friday, 8 May 2015

Patrick Chinamasa says Telecel should not have been allowed to operate in the first place.

FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said Telecel should not have been allowed to operate in the first place. The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) last month cancelled Telecel Zimbabwe's licence and last week the authority ordered the firm to wind up its business within 30 days.

The matter has spilled into the courts and yesterday the High Court in Harare granted Telecel an interdict against Potraz's decision.
Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said Telecel should not have been allowed to operate in the first place.
Officially opening the 40th session of the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds (ZAPF) in Victoria Falls, Chinamasa took a dig at his counterparts in government saying they "slept on the job" by allowing Telecel to operate without a licence against legal specifications.

"On the issue of Telecel someone slept on the job, which is why we've come to this stage. There is a law, which is very specific that a company can't have a licence without paying licence fees but we're surprised they were allowed to operate," he said.
The finance minister said Telecel indicated in its financial position that it was unable to pay licence fees, which should have automatically disqualified the company.

"At that time Telecel said they didn't have money. If people were doing their job properly, they shouldn't have been allowed to operate because the law was dear.

"One wonders why the company was allowed to operate. The answer is clear. The rule of law was not followed," he said.

Chinamasa said the state of the affairs at the moment where the company has been told to stop operating, had caused an outcry because the decision is affecting a "lot of interested parties."

"When things started unfolding, there was an outcry because in trying to correct the situation obviously some people's rights are treated on," said the minister, as he urged pension fund companies and insurance companies to invest in companies that meet required statutes.

He said some companies were spending about 80 percent of their funds on salaries, a development he said, was not good for the economy.

Potraz has said Telecel failed to comply with licensing and indigenisation requirements.

The firm, which has over two million subscribers, is 60 percent owned by VimpelCom Global, which is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with locals accounting for the remaining 40 percent stake through Empowerment Corporation.

Telecel Zimbabwe says it has a plan for VimpelCom to cede 11 percent of its stake to an employee ownership scheme in order to par its shareholding to the legally mandated 51/49 levels.

For the past 13 years, Telecel failed to regularise its shareholding structure as required by law and has been operating without a licence.

Chinamasa said it was up to the courts to decide the fate of "an unregistered" company that is challenging the termination of its operating licence.

He said it was not the government's intention to seize any company's assets as that is not good for investment.

Source: Chronicle
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