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Uganda: mobile network operators given one year to list

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Uganda , 17 Jun 2021

Ugandan authorities have directed all mobile phone operators in the country to list on the local burse, the Uganda Stock Exchange (USE) within 12 months from June 2021.

According to authorities, listing on USE will encourage local ownership of the telecommunications industry.

Chairperson of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Jacqueline Kobusingye said there was no turning back on the issue of listing after years of engagement with operators.

She said despite the engagement, operators have been largely unwilling to list. However, listing is now mandatory and a prerequisite to renew operating licences.

Under the country’s National Broadband Policy, all foreign telecommunications companies are required to list 20% of their shares on USE for Ugandans to buy.

According to the recently launched realigned CMA Strategic Development Plan for 2021 to 2025, failure to list the 20% shares will result in penalties.

CMA CEO Keith Kalyegira said listings are expected to grow market capitalisation of the country’s stock exchange by USh3.5-trillion.

MTN, Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Smile Telecom Limited and Africell Uganda are among several foreign telecommunication operators trading in the country.

MTN Uganda, the country’s largest operator, did not respond to an inquiry on when it is expected to list following the directive by CMA.

In March this year, Kalyegira told the Finance Committee of Parliament that his organisation expects to reap non-tax revenue of USh1.15-billion from the listing of MTN on USE.

Initial public offering (IPO) was one of the conditions for the renewal of MTN Uganda’s operating licence.

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