MTN Uganda is in talks to sell an unspecified stake to the state-run National Social Security Fund that would widen local shareholding currently at only 5%, President Yoweri Museveni’s office said.
The company is in the process of negotiating “disposing shares to NSSF”, according to an e-mailed statement following a meeting between the Ugandan leader and MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“It is important that you float shares on the local stock exchange to allow for local ownership now that the licence has been renewed,” the statement quoted Museveni as saying, without giving details.
Planned share offers by MTN Uganda follow similar moves by group in Ghana and Nigeria — both agreed to by the Johannesburg-based company as part of a deal with regulators.
A 20-year licence for the company with a 55% market share expired in October, according to the Uganda Communication Commission.
The government planned to charge the company US$58-million (R800-million) to renew the permit for 10 years, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported last week. The amount was reduced from an initial $100-million after MTN said it would roll out high-speed Internet connections across the country as required under a new national broadband policy.
Museveni told Shuter that MTN should offer more value-added products, rather than just “extending talking services”.
“Pay attention to this issue,” Museveni said. “Information technology penetration in Africa can end up being a problem.” — Reported by Fred Ojambo, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP