Nigerian-based firm, Taleolgoy Holdings is reported to have failed to raise the capital needed to revive the failing Uganda Telecom LTD (UTL), following that it won the bid to take over the 69% shares back in October 2018.
Libyan shareholders; Libyan Post Telecommunications and IT Holding Company (LPTIC) who owned the 69% in UTL withdrew from the telco leaving it almost to a state of no return. The government of Uganda later announced its takeover of management of UTL and all its affairs. The announcement was made by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Hon Matia Kasaija.
With the government almost breaking its ties with the telco, President Museveni swung in to save UTL which was facing a possible liquidation. He assembled a team of lawyers, who successfully filed for bankruptcy, in a desperate last minute measure to save UTL from liquidation.
In a Cabinet media briefing on May 2nd, 2019 after the President’s saving hand, Ugandan Cabinet approved new procedures to find a capable investor to revive state-owned telco—upgrade its network, as well have its service license extended by twenty years (20).
Successfully, six investors including; Afrinet Communications, Mauritius Telecom (MT), Hamilton Telecom, Telecel Global, Baylis Consortium and Taleology Holdings — came out to save the failing telco.
Taleology Holdings won the bid to over take the 69% shares beating Mauritius Telecom which was favored by State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Ms. Evelyne Anite. Taleology won the contract after staking USD$71 million against Mauritius Telecom’s USD$45 million.
With the deal done, Taleology Holdings was to own 69% shares while the government of Uganda takes the remaining 31%.
After three months of winning he bid, it’s reported that Taleology Holdings has failed to raise the capital required to own the 69% UTL shares.
According to The Independent Magazine, Taleology Holdings had been given up-to Jan. 26th, 2019 to at least pay 10% of USD$71 million to have the firm takeover operations. But they have failed to raise the capital.
Ms. Evelyne told The Independent Magazine they’re taking the matter back to Cabinet for approval to seek for a new investor. She however told the Magazine, quote, “It was wrong to choose this company. It was a waste of time, but it is good to learn a lesson.”
Ms. Evelyne said for as long as she is still serving as Minister and Museveni serving as President, all possible options will be explored to ensure that the telco keeps running until a competent investor is identified to run the business.
“With all the incentives and the support given to it, UTL is still a very strong company,” she told the Magazine.
UTL needs about UGX255 billion to clear some of the UGX536 billion debt as well as help it upgrade its network to 4G in Kampala, Entebbe, Gulu, Mbarara, Mbale, Tororo, Busia and Fort Portal.\
In June of 2017, Ms. Evelyne said the that government would make it a mandatory requirement for every Ugandan to own a UTL simcard. She emphasized that this would display patriotism and pride in for the country and its citizens.
“It did not take us to get somebody from another country to come and fix what is in UTL. I want to tell you something; that once we fix the problems in UTL, it is going to be compulsory for Ugandans to hold a UTL line just as it is for you to have a national ID,” she said.
However, this move has caused a lot of reactions – where stakeholders in Uganda’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector downplayed the move to make UTL Simcards a mandatory requirement for every citizen. On the other hand, ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) forum, stakeholders described the move as “sad and unfeasible” considering the storm that the telecom is going through.