Mobile operator Vodacom Tanzania has published the draft prospectus for its proposed initial public offer (IPO) and the listing of shares on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). In what it claims is a significant step towards implementing the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010 (Act No. 3/10), as amended by the Finance Act 2016 – which mandates that all domestic telcos issue at least 25% of their shares on the DSE – Vodacom says it will work closely with regulators to ensure an IPO happens in time. The cellco’s managing director Ian Ferrao confirmed: ‘We are pleased to announce that we have filed our application and draft prospectus for consideration by the capital markets and securities authority. This document sets out our proposals on the structure and timetable for the listing.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that under the rules laid down in the 2010 legislation, domestic telcos were required to offer shares to the public and list with the DSE within three years of it entering the statute. This clause provoked immediate and vocal condemnation among the firms affected, which claimed it was a retrograde step for the industry, harking back to the era of nationalisation when individuals or companies were forced to sell shares of their business to the government. Many MPs, however, considered the contentious clause proportionate in light of what they saw as cellcos withholding billions of shillings to the state by way of taxes. It was October 2014 before there was any traction regarding the legislation; the Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, January Makamba, revealed plans to start listing all telecoms operators on the stock exchange in the early part of 2015 in order to allow citizens a stake in what had become one of Tanzania’s fastest growing industries. The long-winded process has, however, dragged on into late 2016.