Telecel looking to cut wages bill by 20%; POTRAZ board removed

7 Jul 2015

Telecel Zimbabwe is asking its staff to take pay cuts or reduce their working hours in an effort to lower its employee costs. A report from Bloomberg cites a letter from Telecel to its workers which offers them a range of options, including to accept a pay reduction of 20%, defer 30% of their salary until end-2016 or work a four-day week. Telecel’s CEO Angeline Vere is quoted as saying: ‘We are looking at various options, but nothing has been finalised as yet.’

Telecel was in danger of losing its operating permit earlier this year after failing to meet licence fee payments and not complying with indigenisation laws which require at least 51% local ownership; the firm is 60% owned by Amsterdam-headquartered firm Vimpelcom. An appeal to the High Court, however, has allowed Zimbabwe’s third largest cellco to continue offering services as it works to comply with the government requirements. Last week it revealed that it had met its licence payments up to the end of June.

Separately, Zimbabwe’s government has removed the entire board of telecoms regulator POTRAZ citing abuse of financial resources, poor corporate governance and corruption. A report from local newspaper The Herald suggests that the sackings were related to spurious expenses claims and unnecessary foreign trips. POTRAZ came in for criticism earlier this year over its handling of the Telecel licensing affair, with critics saying that it had allowed the cellco to continue operating without making its licence payments.