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TelOne rules out unilateral debt write-off

By , ITWeb
Zimbabwe , 05 Feb 2018

TelOne rules out unilateral debt write-off

Joseph Machiva, Executive Director – Retail at Zimbabwe's TelOne, has urged businesses with outstanding bills to settle these immediately in order for the telco to continue to provide services.

The company cannot afford to write-off any monies owed said Machiva. "For the record, the company cannot write off fifty percent. Those companies struggling to settle their debt need to have an agreeable payment plan.

"The maximum we have written off so far is 30%," he added.

In 2017, following government intervention, TelOne is understood to have written-off US$80 million, primarily for the benefit of state enterprises and local government authorities.

According to officials the debt was accrued by corporate and private clients between February 2009 and June 2013.

Struggling local businesses, represented by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), have appealed to the telco to write-off debts owed as this was impacting negatively on their profit margins.

The ZNCC described outstanding bills backdating to 2009 and the additional 3% interest rate charged as "the albatross hanging on the neck of the businesses".

"The charging of interest rates on outstanding bills by TelOne has been weighing down on our corporates," ZNCC deputy president, Divine Ndlukula told ITWeb Africa last week. "Our business operations and production has been stifled by TelOne's move to punitively add interest rates on the outstanding bills."

According to TelOne Managing Director Chipo Mtasa the company is owed US$200 million since the adoption of the multi-currency system in 2009.

Government departments owe approximately US$40 million said Mtasa.

TelOne is the country's sole fixed telephone service provider and took legal action against defaulters in order to recover monies owed in unpaid telephone bills.

However, to date many clients contest the amounts owed and are adamant they will not settle the outstanding bills.

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