by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (ITNews Zimbabwe) – THE Zimbabwean government has approached the World Bank to spearhead the privatisation of state-owned telecommunications operators.
This follows the cancellation of the contract with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) after the firms – NetOne and TelOne- failed to raise US$5 million transactional fees for consultancy purposes.
Prof. Mthuli Ncube, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in his latest privatisation update, said the government was forging ahead with the disposal of a 60 percent stake in each of the companies.
“In this regard, a final request has been made by the secretary of SEPs (state-owned enterprises), Reform, Corporate Government and Procurement to the World Bank local office to ask the IFC to be the transactional advisors since they do not demand upfront payment,” he said.
IFC is the International Finance Corporation, whose regional offices are in neighbouring South Africa.
It is a member of the World Bank.
Officials from IFC nonetheless however cannot travel to Harare for now due to international travel restrictions imposed after the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
If the IFC deal sails through, it will see massive recapitalisation of
NetOne and TelOne.
TelOne, the fixed-line operator, requires $300 million for
recapitalisation. It has since benefited from a $98-million loan
facility from the China Africa Export and Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
The government initially wanted to dispose of a 74 percent stake in the mobile network operator, NetOne, to remain with board representation.
The operator currently has about 3,3 million subscribers in a sector
dominated by Econet and has Telecel as the other operator.