ICT, Postal and Courrior Services minister Hon Supa Mandiwanzira yesterday told a Mobile and digital money conference that government plans to increase its stake in Telecel to 100%.
When government saw an opportunity to own a stake in a mobile operator, Telecel, the intention actually was to own 100%; largely because there is a lot of sanitisation that need to be done in shareholding.
If a business has too many shareholders it becomes a rally. So government wants to sanitise, shareholder issues and once we have 100%, we will know what to do. It doesn t necessarily mean that we will hold on to it, but we could give to others with real money to invest,” said Mandiwanzira.
Government last year completed a $40 million purchase of 60 % stake in Telecel from the Amsterdam headquartered Vimpelcom. The purchase of Telecel was done through ZARNet an Internet Service Provider wholly owned by the government. Telecel’s remaining 40% is owned by Empowerment Corporation, a group of local shareholders.
Mandiwanzira said the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) was an interested party in Telecel stake and indicated that the wrangles were holding the company at ransom as investors have not been forthcoming to inject fresh capital in the mobile operator.
The business has not done well because there have always been issues with regards to the 40 percent which is supposedly owned by empowerment corporations. We cannot afford to have an international investor coming through and then the next morning, the AAG takes them to court claiming a stake, he added.