#MondayBlues: NSSA Surrenders Telecel Stake

National Social Security Authority (Nssa) is ready to cede control of the Telecel Asset into Zarnet’s hands  at the back of a recent agreement inked to this effect, it has emerged.

However the deal will only be conclued if Zarnet manages to buy back the stake it sold to NSSA over their stipulated time, a condition which still may alter the deal, should Zarnet fail to reimburse.

NSSA General manager  general manager Elizabeth Chitiga  said Nssa and Zarnet had agreed on the deal’s terms following negotiations to restructure the financing deal

“The agreements have been signed to that effect… As the chairman has previously stated negotiations were going on and I am sure he also spoke about it in his last quarterly update,” Chitiga said on the side-lines of a media cocktail.

The recent development follows an earlier announcement by Nssa chairperson, Robin Vela, stating that the parties were in advanced negotiations.

“The two parties are in advanced negotiations in relation to restructuring the transaction; wherein from a Nssa perspective it will culminate in an acceptable equity return and enhanced security arrangements, whilst the Zarnet perspective translates to a feasible and favourable financing structure.

“The effect of the new dispensation is that Zarnet will exercise the buy-back over a three-year period on terms enshrined in a new agreement involving a number of related-parties to Zarnet,” Vela said, in his fourth quarter 2016 update.

Marred in controversy, the transaction gives government controlling stake in the country’s third largest mobile network operator to the little known government Internet provider, Zarnet.

Reports last year indicated that Nssa was not “entirely happy” about the prospect of losing out on an equity holding in TZ — or just playing the role of a financier and — where it sees huge opportunities for rich pickings, and acquiring an asset that can add value to its policy holders.

Information Communication Technology minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, recently said as majority shareholder, government was now moving to fully acquire the network and “sanitise it” with a possible private listing on the horizon.

“Efforts to sanitise the ‘shareholder wars’ and eventually make the business private through listing or selling, et cetera continue.  Advisors will advise us which route to take,” he said.

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