LISTING of mobile phone companies at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) that was expected this year in accordance with the Electronic and Postal Communication Act (EPOCA) of 2010 may fail to materialise due to a clause of the law that calls for consultation before it is enforced.
It was learnt in Dar es Salaam that even regulations to guide its implementation have not been drafted. And this, coupled with the clause has been blamed for stalling smooth enforcement of the law.
It also came to light that Section 26 of the legislation, which was passed by the National Assembly in March 2010 and assented into a law in June, was again amended in July, the same year, through the miscellaneous amendments clause. Before it was amended, the clause had mandated the firms to list at the bourse three years after the legislation came into existence.
Surprisingly, unlike the initial clause, the amended section of the law stipulated that the listing will only be conducted after the Minister responsible for Communication, Science and Technology, has held consultations with the mobile phone firms.
Briefing journalists, Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (POAC), Mr Kabwe Zitto (Chadema), said it was high time the minister drafted the regulations.
"Listing of the companies would enable Tanzanians to participate in the lucrative industry, it will also improve transparency as listed companies are required by law to make public their financial records every year," he explained.
He wondered that even mobile operator Airtel, to which the government has a 40 per cent stake, has not shown signs that it would float its shares at the bourse. Appearing before the parliamentary committee, the Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA), Ms Nasama Massinda, blamed the respective section for stalling the listing process.
Mwibara MP Kangi Lugola (CCM) proposed that the legislation be amended since it gives a room for the companies not to list. For his part, the Director General of the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Prof John Nkoma, said consultations were currently underway between the government and mobile operators.
"In that regard, I cannot commit myself to state as to when the listing would officially take place as that would depend on the outcomes of the consultations," Prof Nkoma told the parliamentarians. Members of the committee had expressed anger that while the operators were reluctant to list at the DSE, they had listed their shares in a number of stock markets in Africa and Europe.
"We expected this legislation to be enforced by July this year but that does not seem to happen. These companies should be made to list just like they list in other countries. For instance, Vodacom is listed in London and Johannesburg, why not at the DSE," queried Ludewa MP Deo Filikunjombe (CCM). Before EPOCA came into existence, mobile phones firms were required to have a local shareholding of 35 per cent.