By Natasha Chamba
Mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe has said it is now targeting to clear its licensing obligations of US$137,5 million to Government by 2020.
In 2013 the mobile operator made an arrangement with the Postal Regulatory Authority (Potraz) to pay off its fees in instalments after the regulator had made moves to cancel the operator’s licence.
However, the mobile operator missed its payment plans last year and in 2017 and now owes an outstanding US$93,5 million.
The whole $137,5 million was supposed to be paid in 2013.
According to a payment plan agreed between Telecel and Potraz, Telecel was supposed to pay US$15m in 2017 and US$20m in 2018.
Telecel’s chief executive officer Mrs Angeline Vere said her company was being weighed down by the harsh economic conditions that the country is facing but was working on ensuring it complies with regulatory requirements.
“We have obviously been affected by the downturn in the economy like any other organisation in this economy but we are in constant communication with the regulatory authorities to explore ways of ensuring we comply as expected,” online technology magazine, TechZim, quoted Mrs Vere at the weekend.
“At the moment, with various ongoing efforts to recapitalise the company, and the gradual improvement in our financial performance, we have reason to believe we will be able to meet the requirements expected of us.”
Of interest among the three mobile operators operating in the country, only Econet Wireless paid for their licence in full. NetOne, like Telecel, has also made a payment plan with Potraz and their debt is to be cleared by 2027.
Meanwhile, Telecel’s board members have been at cross roads over attempts to oust Mrs Vere over allegations that she has turned the telecoms company into a loss-making entity since taking over the reins in 2015.
In an emailed letter dated May 22, 2019 revealed to our sister publication, The Sunday Mail, board members pushing for Mrs Vere’s ouster also claim that in addition to failing to uphold her duties, she has allegedly failed to produce audited financial statements since she assumed office. The Chronicle