There’s more than one side to any story, and the Telecel story hasn’t been any different. Everyone is trying to set the record straight and Telecel Zimbabwe has released a statement today explaining how it kept its end of the licence payment arrangement.
The details are consistent with what the government, through the Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira, has shared with parliament. Telecel has, however, gone on to explain why it struggled to meet some of the installments.
But Telecel is doing more than just setting the record straight. It’s also started lobbying for public support on social media. The tweet shown below, with the tag #SaveTelecel, was sent out by Telecel.
— Telecel Zimbabwe (@Telecel_Zim) May 5, 2015
What’s your take on all of this?
You can take a look at the full statement from Telecel below.
Clarifications on Telecel Zimbabwe Licence Payments
Telecel would like to put straight the record on the factually incorrect statements circulating that it failed to pay for its licence renewal. The truth is that Telecel is currently in compliance with its obligations as per the Licence Renewal Agreement entered into between Telecel, POTRAZ the regulator and the Government of Zimbabwe as represented by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport & Communications.
When it was indicated that all operators would have to pay $137.5 million to renew their operating licences, Telecel and the other operator negotiated with the Government to offset the licence fees against the interconnection fees owed by the government owned entities Tel-One and Net-One. Telecel was allowed to offset $12 million whilst the other operator, who was owed a much larger amount, was also allowed to offset.
Telecel negotiated with the Regulator and the Government represented by Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Ministry of Finance. An agreement was reached and signed on the 06th of August 2013. The Agreement entailed payment of an immediate lump sum of $14 million in addition to using debt accrued from the Government telecommunications operators on interconnect fees to offset part of the fees. This debt amounted to $12 million. The balance would be payable in instalments over a period of 7 years.
Telecel immediately made good on the cash payment through its bankers. The unfortunate thing was that part of that payment of $6 million was not honoured by Metbank, one of its bankers, even though Telecel had funds in their account. Up to now, that money has not been honoured by the bank. Various correspondences at hand will prove that Metbank even wrote to Ministry of Finance accepting their responsibility on failing to settle this amount. After failing to secure the funds held by Metbank, Telecel had to fork out another $6 million to cover that gap, this in the face of the well-known liquidity crunch bedevilling the economy.
Telecel has honoured all subsequent licence fees payment obligations as per the agreed payment plan and is currently up to date. The next instalment is due in June of this year. At no time was Telecel unable to pay for its agreed commitments and it is important for the public to know the true facts behind the story.