MTN Uganda to fork out US$100-m for licence renewal
Under pressure, MTN Uganda has agreed to pay US$100-million for the renewal of its operating licence that expired in October 2018.
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has granted the company temporary extensions pending the renewal of the licence, and initially approved an amount of US$58-million for renewal.
However, this amount was questioned by the country’s president Yoweri Museveni which prompted the regulator to reverse its decision.
Museveni directed UCC and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology to explain why the amount was reduced from the US$100-million that was agreed by Cabinet.
Museveni said that in the 20-year period of operation, MTN had “reaped vast profits.”
Since then, UCC and MTN have been in negotiations regarding the final amount.
The secretary to the Treasury and Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi confirmed the latest development and said: “Government has negotiated US$100-million and they have agreed they are going to pay.”
UCC spokesperson Ibrahim Bosa also confirmed the development and was quoted by the local Daily Monitor newspaper as saying: “We are waiting for them to make the payment for the process of the licence renewal to be kick started.”
ICT Minister Peter Ogwang said the money will be paid in two instalments of US$50-million, with the first instalment in March, the second in April 2020.
MTN did not respond to ITWeb Africa’s request for comment at the time of publishing.
Andrew Makanya, a telecom analyst at Computer Association of Zambia said, “The US$100-million licence fee is by far the most expensive licence in East Africa considering that Safaricom paid US$27-million to the Communications Authority of Kenya for its 10 year operating licence in 2014.”