KAMPALA – Telecom giant MTN Uganda has agreed to pay $100m (about Shs370b) to the government for renewal of its licence, ending a standoff that attracted the attention of the President.
MTN’s licence expired in October 2018 and since then, there have been back and forth negotiations with the government, with the telecom firm seeking a reduction. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has been granting MTN temporary extensions during the negotiations.
But on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, UCC confirmed that MTN has since agreed to pay the money for a 10-year licence.
“We are waiting for them to make the payments”, for the process of licence renewal to be kick-started. They are likely to pay in two instalments and currently, meetings are ongoing to determine terms of payment,” Mr Ibrahim Bosa, the spokesperson, is quoted as saying in an interview with this web site.
According to the new telecom licensing framework and regulations, national telecom operators will be required to pay either 2 per cent of their gross annual revenues or pay $100m for a 10-year licence.
President Museveni on October 28, 2018, wrote to UCC, questioning their decision to allow MTN to pay $58m as licence fees despite Cabinet agreeing on $100m.
“You ought to be aware that over the 20-year span during which MTN has been operating in Uganda, it has reaped vast profits most of which have obviously been repatriated. This is common knowledge derived from the company’s own declarations and from our own sources,” the President wrote.
The government explained that the hike in licence fees was premised on projected annual gross revenues of the telecom, which put into consideration growing populations.