The government of Uganda has reassured customers of struggling fixed line operator Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) that it will continue to offer services despite being placed under receivership. Uganda Registration Services Bureau registrar general Bemanya Twebaze, who is also acting as the government’s official receiver, said in a statement: ‘Customer retention is key and all efforts will be put in place for a seamless service … Uganda Telecom Limited pledges to continue providing reliable services to its customers.’
An audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that UTL has assets of UGX248 billion (USD68 million) but debts of closer to UGX700 billion. According to a report from The Monitor, the government opted to place the telco under administration when local firm Cameo Techedge petitioned a court to recover UGX484 million owed by UTL. The Ugandan government regained control of UTL in March after ousting 69% shareholder LAP Green Network (LAP GreenN) of Libya for failing to inject sufficient capital to turn around the fortunes of the ailing telco. LAP GreenN has said it will contest the decision.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UTL was originally privatised in June 2000 when a 51% stake was sold to the UCOM consortium – comprising Switzerland-based Telecel International, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom and German consultancy Deutsche Telepost Consulting (DeTeCon). In March 2007 the government agreed to increase UCOM’s holding to 69%, and the following month it was announced that LAP GreenN had acquired UCOM’s 69% stake in UTL. The Ugandan government retained the remaining 31% of the company’s shareholding.