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President repeats threat to renationalise PTO

16 Aug 2011

President Abdoulaye Wade has apparently repeated his threat to renationalise Senegal’s national PTO Sonatel by buying out France Telecom’s (FT’s) 42.30% stake in the company. The government of Senegal currently owns 27.15% of the telco with the remaining 30.55% in the hands of employees and private individuals. However, local newspaper Le Soleil writes that in a statement during a meeting on regulation of incoming international calls, Wade also said the government intended to resume its original plan of using US-based Global Voice to monitor incoming calls and to apply a tax that would generate XOF60 billion (USD133.6 million) a year in revenue for various projects.

CommsUpdate reported in November 2010 that Wade had rescinded a government Decree passed in May that year that proposed a higher tax levy on incoming international calls to the country. At the time it was hoped the decision to veto plans to raise call taxes would bring the curtain down on a seven-month dispute between the national regulator the Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP) and Sonatel. With the government looking to bolster its coffers, unions objected to an August decision to monitor incoming calls passed through the PTO, claiming it would hurt Sonatel’s business and put jobs at risk. In September the monitoring, designed to allow the state to calculate the nature of the taxes it could collect, was temporarily suspended. It seems that Wade has now rekindled the dispute.

Senegal, Sonatel (Orange)

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