State-owned telecommunications company TelOne is reportedly owed nearly ZWL$ 1 billion by the Zimbabwean government and its parastatals. According to TelOne’s status update report to the Ministry for ICTs, the firm currently has ZWL$1.58 billion on its debt book with the government making up 60% of it (ZWL$945 million) as of March 31st 2021.
“This has constrained the company’s cash flows and operations to the extent that TelOne is in turn facing difficulty in setting its key service providers and statutory obligations”TelOne (via 263 Chat)
The govt’s inability to meet its obligation to TelOne has impacted the company heavily not only in limiting its cash flow because back in 2018 TelOne was also fined US$8.9 million by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) for settling its taxes late.
As if things couldn’t get worse, TelOne now reportedly needs US$25 million a year over the next half decase in order to stay in step with its competitors as well as spread the reach of its services across the country.
TelOne is at the forefront of a number of projects that go beyond telecommunications infrastructure. The firm has undertaken an ambitious device assembly project that it hopes will see it churn out 150 000 a year.
Its aspirations are surely going to be hampered by this continuing setback. However, to its credit, TelOne has been trying, by all means, to keep itself as close as it can be to its competitors like ZOL. Earlier this year, TelOne launched a chatbot, unlimited nighttime data for VSAT, as well as rollover data for its pay as you go customers.
All that being said, TelOne would probably do a lot better if it had the financial resources to go beyond what it can now.