via Govt owes NetOne $10m – DailyNews Live 19 FEBRUARY 2014
State-owned wireless network operator, NetOne, says it is owed $10 million by government, a development that has affected its operational efficiency.
Its chief executive, Reward Kangai, said the company, the smallest by subscriber base among Zimbabwe’s three mobile networks has struggled to get its money from some government institutions since introduction of the multi-currency system in 2009.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is also one of those who owe NetOne.
They never paid us from the time we went to the multi-currency system,” he said, adding that “to make matters worse we had some amount of $800 000 with Barclays Bank, which was liquidated by the central bank.”
Overall, Kangai said NetOne is owed a total $28 million by subscribers.
He said they had appealed to Obert Mpofu’s Transport and Communication ministry to assist in the recovery of the RBZ debt.
“We are also trying to clear some of the loans we got at the set-up of NetOne. We have negotiated with some of the lenders for the removal of interest and penalties but on the basis that we make one bullet payment,” Kangai said.
Kangai hoped the network will reach 8,4 million subscribers in the near future on the back of a $219 million loan from China.
“We are optimistic it is going to transform the telecommunications landscape in Zimbabwe. It will propel NetOne to pole position,” he said.
“We are putting all our efforts towards getting this project. There have been efforts to scuttle that particular project because our detractors realise that this project is going to make a major impact,” added Kangai.
NetOne was the first cellular network operator in Zimbabwe based on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).
The telecommunications company wholly owned by government was launched with 500 lines during the World Solar Summit in September 1996 in Harare.
It was formed as a subsidiary of the Postal and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) in 1996.
Its main focus and objective was to introduce and offer mobile cellular telecommunications to complement the fixed line telecommunication services offered by PTC.
Since then, service has been extended to almost across the country.
Over the years, NetOne, with around 2, 4 million subscribers, has pioneered routes for coverage.
Apart from offering basic telephone service, NetOne also offers supplementary and value added services such as vehicle tracking system, short messaging services, international roaming, mobile fax, broadband services, and mobile financial services.