Stephen Kaboyo, the Uganda Telecom-UTL chairperson, has dismissed rumors that the company is collapsing.
According to Kaboyo, UTL is not going anywhere and is here to stay.
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), which regulates the telecom sector, on March 30th wrote to the management of UTL over what it called failure to improve its quality of services and inability to pay interconnection fees.
The regulator also noted that UTL is using unapproved equipment in complete disregard of the regulations of the industry.
UCC asked UTL’s management to explain their side of the story exhaustively, threatening that it may revoke its operating license.
UTL is co-owned by the Uganda t government, as a minority shareholder and the Libyan government as majority shareholder.
Ali Amir, the UTL outgoing managing director, upon receipt of the notice acknowledged that the issues cited are true especially on the levy default, the interconnection fees debt and also the company’s ill health but felt that some required some clarification from UTL.
“The aspects of equipment type approval and illegal usage of spectrum are technical issues I feel we needed to interface with UCC more on so that they can factor in our side of events.”
Amir expressed his disappointment at things having reached that point and noted that management at UTL is hopeful and confident that the government and Lap Green – the two principal shareholders, shall get solutions to save the company within the ultimatum period.
“I am almost 100 per cent positive that UTL shall not be shut down and a compromise will have been reached before then.”
In a statement, Kaboyo admitted that UTL has regulatory challenges that centre on capitalisation of the company.
Kaboyo emphasised that UTL is a cornerstone in the country’s telecommunications sector and noted that the stakeholders shall not let it fall.
“UTL is here to stay. It is true we have regulatory challenges that centre on capitalisation issues. However, I the shareholders – Lap Green and the government of Uganda, are working together to stabilise UTL, reverse the causes of distress, resolve the financial problems and return the company to acceptable levels of solvency, liquidity and profitability,” Kaboyo said.
“We need to recognise that UTL is a centre piece of Uganda’s telecom sector. Its contribution to the ICT sector and the economy cannot be downplayed. UTL employs 460 Ugandans and we are the sole provider of fixed line communication for the entire government machinery.”
He added: “UTL has enormous potential, with a bit of tweaking here and there, we shall make the turn and bring the business back on a sound footing.”