Industry reels as parliament passes controversial telecoms bill

1 Feb 2010

Tanzania’s parliament has passed a new telecommunications bill that will make it mandatory for all mobile network operators to list on the country’s Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). Local newspaper The Citizen says the move has provoked immediate and vocal condemnation among the firms affected who say it is a retrograde step for the industry. ‘It takes the country back to the era of nationalisation when individuals were forced to sell their companies or shares to the government,’ Vodacom Tanzania’s head of legal and regulatory affairs, Mr Godwin Ngwilimi. However, many MPs considered the bill in light of what they see as cellcos’ unfair treatment of end users and their withholding of billions to the state by way of taxes. The new Electronic and Postal Communication Bill 2009 was presented by the Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Peter Msola, who said it would help set up a legal framework for providing comprehensive regulations for electronic communication service providers. Once the bill enters into law, domestic telcos will be forced to offer shares to the public and will also be required to list with the DSE within three years of it entering the statute.

Tanzania, Vodacom Tanzania