Monday May 1 2017

New UTL administration to handle creditors, retain customers

By Ibrahim A Manzil

KAMPALA. After Uganda Telecom Ltd was placed under receivership over bankruptcy, the new interim administration seeks to settle creditors and retain the dwindling number of customers.
Sunday Monitor yesterday revealed how President Museveni ordered Investment minister Evelyn Anite to assemble a team of lawyers, who quickly successfully filed for bankruptcy, in a desperate last minute measure to save the company from liquidation.
Uganda Registration Services Bureau registrar general Bemanya Twebaze, who doubles as government’s official receiver now in charge of UTL, seeks to re-assure disenchanted customers of good days ahead.
“Customer retention is key and all efforts will be put in place for a seamless service…Uganda Telecom Limited pledges to continue providing reliable services to its customers,” read a statement issued by Mr Twebaze.
He also reached out to the company’s creditors that “the administration process is intended to achieve the best possible result for the company’s creditors.”
The statement added; “All creditors of the company will be expected to submit their claims to the provisional administrator and follow the due process.”
Quick smart creditors had, in apparent collusion with some government officials, wanted to upstage the company by selling off its assets, a move President Museveni and Ms Anite thwarted last Friday.
Ms Anite, at a Friday news conference, non-committedly paddled in the insolvency talk, accusing unnamed government officials and the company’s creditors of conspiracy to “wind up the company legally.”
Ms Anite said government will not allow the embattled company to collapse, explaining the hurried intention to remove the company from creditors’ dinner plate.
Cameo Techedge Limited, an Asian-owned private company, had petitioned court to close UTL over a $133, 000 (about Shs484m) liability, a move government thwarted by obtaining the bankruptcy order.
In a recent report, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a UK-based multinational audit firm placed the company’s debt as a humongous Shs700b, although outgoing board member Stephen Kaboyo recently put it at a slightly lower Shs500b.
Mr Twebaze said his top priority is “to protect the company and ensure that it trades as a ‘going concern’; the survival, stability and continuity of UTL with a view of returning it to profitability in the long-run is fundamental.”
A company runs as a ‘going concern,’ according to internet sources, when “an entity is viewed as continuing in business for the foreseeable future.”
Mr Twebaze asked employees “to continue with their normal duties as the provisional administrator assesses the situation.”