The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued new regulations that would require all telecom companies operating in the country to publicly list on the stock exchange so that Ugandans can own shares in the companies.
In a memo sent to all telecom companies, UCC says following the meeting with stakeholders on October 29, the new licensing framework for the sector is soon coming into effect.
“The National Telecom Operator(NTO) licensee shall be required to list at least 20% of its shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange within two years from the date of grant or issuance of the licence. This shall be undertaken in accordance with the existing listing rules as prescribed by the Uganda Capital Markets Authority,” it reads in part. The December 10 communication to all telecom companies is signed by the UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi.
According to the letter, all existing telecom companies have until January 30, 2020 to indicate to UCC whether they wish to renew their licence renewed or opt for a licence to provide other services other than telecommunication.
“This should be accompanied by any relevant information showing the operator’s technical and financial capacity to provide services under the licence they wish to be considered for.”
UCC says that upon receipt of the expression of interest from a telecom company, the commission shall basing on the current operational status of each operator determine whether to issue or not the licence and that this would happen in a period of 30 days after receipt of the expression of interest.
Existing telecom companies have been asked to comply with the given timelines in order to facilitate a smooth exercise that will see a renewal of their licences early next year.
“The purpose of this letter is, therefore, to remind you to study the new licencing framework and ensure you submit your respective expressions of interest for the licences you wish to hold under the new framework within the aforesaid timelines.”
Early this year, President Museveni ordered that all telecom companies must list on the stock exchange so as to enable Ugandans own shares in the companies.
He said that this move will ensure that some money is paid to Ugandans and the same will be kept within the economy unlike before when all capital was taken back to the countries of origin of the telecom companies.
“These telecom companies accumulate a lot of local shillings, then they walk to forex bureaus and buy all the dollars which we earn from other products and take away all the money and you find the Uganda Shilling going down,” Museveni said during the inauguration of the national expert team on fourth industrial revolution in April.
Following Museveni’s directive, UCC met all telecom companies and discussed the same.
The president empasised the same stance when he met the MTN Group chief executive officer, Mr Rob Shuter on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.