TANZANIA has started reaping benefits of the revised deal over Airtel Tanzania ownership, with the government expecting to receive over 5bn/- from the telecoms firm today.
According to the Presidential Directorate of Communications, the firm is expected to hand over the money to President John Magufuli at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
Part of the money (3bn/-) is given as per new agreement on Airtel Tanzania ownership, which was entered early this year between the government and the Bharti Airtel.
According to the new arrangement, the company is supposed to pay 1bn/- monthly to the government.
The remaining 2.27bn/- is the company’s contribution to support the government efforts towards the country’s development, the directorate said in a statement.
The new agreement saw the government’s shares in Airtel Tanzania increasing to 49 per cent from 40 per cent, putting to rest a dispute that delayed the telecom firm’s listing on the Dar stock market.
Early this year, Chairman of Bharti Airtel International Sunil Mittal met and held talks with President John Magufuli at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
It was revealed during the meeting that the Indian telecoms group had decided to reduce its shareholding in Airtel Tanzania.
Bharti Airtel International acquired the 60 per cent shares when it bought Zain Africa BV over a decade ago.
The government built its case using records dating back to November 1998 when the Cellnet Company, which later became Celtel, was launched under TTCL’s full ownership.
The Cellnet operated until May 7, 2001 when it was rebranded to Celtel Tanzania, again under the ownership of TTCL which owned the entire operating infrastructure installed at a cost of five million US dollars (over 12bn/-).
The government also claimed it was not receiving dividends from the Airtel despite having 40 per cent ownership.
But, after meeting and holding talks with the President Magufuli, Mr Mittal agreed to start the process of paying dividends to the government.
Tanzania’s negotiation team in the talks was led by the then Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs Prof Palamagamba Kabudi.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli is today expected to swear-in the newly appointed Minister for Industry and Trade Innocent Bashungwa. Others to be sworn in are Njombe Regional Administrative Secretary Charles Kichere and Commissioner G eneral for Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Dr Edwin Mhede.
The Swearing-in comes after the president made minor cabinet reshuffle last week, appointing Mr Bashungwa the new industry and trade minister. He replaces Joseph Kakunda whose appointment has been revoked.
Dr Magufuli also appointed Dr Mhede to fill the position left by Mr Charles Kichere whose appointment was also revoked.
Prior to his new appointment, Dr Mhede was the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade.