Zimbabwe: Govt Defends Acquisition of Telecel

Harare — A CABINET minister has justified the takeover of mobile network operator, Telecel, by the Zimbabwean government.

Supa Mandiwanzira, the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security, said the move was necessary to save jobs amid indications the company faced collapse.

"We could see that this thing (Telecel) was headed for collapse," Mandiwanzira equipped.

"It is our business as a ministry to promote the growth of the industry and to protect jobs in the industry, so this intervention was very positive," Mandiwanzira added.

He also said the government had yet to receive 60 percent of its shareholding in Telecel International, which it acquired from Dutch company, Vimpelcom.

There were some sharp disagreements between the government and Vimpelcom over the acquisition of Telecel's majority shareholding for US$40 million.

Government wrestled Vimpelcom's 60 percent shareholding in Telecel in 2016.

Empowerment Corporation, a group of local investors with businessman James Makamba as the major shareholder, owned 40 percent.

Telecel, which faces stiff competition from Econet and Netone, is the third largest operator.

It requires about $30 million in new capital injection in order to competitively attract market.

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