Kampala. The MTN Group Chief Executive Officer Rob Shuter has said MTN Uganda is ready to give 20 per cent of its stake to Ugandans.
Speaking to journalists during the Africa Now summit in Munyonyo yesterday, Mr Shuter said MTN Group would be broadening ownership in three key markets including Uganda, Nigeria and Zambia.
“In Uganda, we would like to target to move it from 4 per cent to 20 per cent,” he said explaining that engagement with public and authorities about the demand and how much funds are available is crucial.
The telecom has been subjected to local ownership as a prerequisite in the national broadband policy, which was passed in September last year.
However, Mr Shuter suggested the telecom would be leaning towards institutional shareholders visa-vis floating shares on the stock exchange in a bid to boost inclusiveness.
“I think this is something that needs to be worked on. It is known that we have been in discussions with National Social Security Fund, this is a potential investor in MTN Uganda,” he said arguing that that would include the many members of the pension fund without necessarily going through the challenges associated with public listing.
In his argument, he said, public listing, could be risky giving an example of Vodacom, which listed in Tanzania but registered a share drop even when it was doing well.
However, Mr Shuter maintained, MTN would still keep an open mind towards listing.
The South African based telecom has faced an umpteen of challenges this year, following the deportation of four of its employees and delayed licence renewal.
Government, has on two occasions, since the expiry of MTN’s 20-year license in October last year, granted partial renewals with the most recent being a three-month renewal in January.
The President has also previously asked Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to explain why it had reduced MTN’s licence renewal fees from $100m to $58m.
Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, last week told Daily Monitor discussions, especially surrounding the licence renewal, were going on smoothly.
“We are moving on well. We haven’t had any challenges with MTN, especially in regard to [its] licence and operations,” he said.
Yesterday Mr Shuter said the process for the renewal of the licence was a bit complicated, spreading beyond the cost of the licence.
For instance, he said, there are other requirements under the National Broadband Policy, which among them include data speed, coverage, spectrum allocation as well as period of extension which must all be put in consideration.
According to the Mr Shuter, the licence was partially extended for three months to give time to work through all facets associated with the renewal.
“It is complex because the policy is changing, we have the traditional Second National Operator (SNO) licence, broadband policy, the national regulator is looking at licensing the national service operators in the future,” he said.
Mr Shuter also said there was need to try and get some closure on the deportation of key staff with the view of communicating clearly. However, he said they were not investing any staff in regard to government deportations, saying they would wait for a report from government. Government has since the beginning of the year deported key MTN managerial staff include chief executive officer Wim Vanhelleputte, chief marketing officer Olivier Prentout, the mobile money general manager Elsa Mussolini and Annie Tabura, general manager for sales and distribution at MTN Uganda.