Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) Board Chairman Stephen Kaboyo has attacked Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, noting that he doesn’t understand business matters.
Kaboyo was on Thursday responding to Business Focus’ question on why he thinks UTL still has a future yet UCC boss late last year said no amount of money can revamp UTL.
“He (Mutabazi) is not a businessman. He looks at numbers of today. I have been deeper in this thing (UTL). I have looked at the options; UTL can still thrive,” Kaboyo said, adding that 70% of UTL’s debts is shareholders debt which requires financial restructuring. Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee probing the mismanagement of UTL late last year, Mutabazi said: “UTL has violated every provision of the law. Its license should have been revoked long ago. Something should be done because the weakness of UTL affects the whole industry and the country. I think we can give you logical facts for the last five years and judge for yourself. As a regulator, I think this company shouldn’t be running. If there is any other view, let someone come and convince us,” Mutabazi said.
He added: “UTL failed at their obligation. We have been engaging (them), but nothing is changing and as a result, in my own judgment, UTL is in a position where it can’t be saved. Let them put any amount of money and we see if it is reversible. Under the current circumstances, there is no amount of money that can save UTL.”
UTL’s debts are estimated to be close to Shs670bn.
Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance announced Government of Uganda takeover of UTL on Wednesday following the abandonment of the indebted telecom firm by the majority shareholder.
Libyan state owned company, UCOM that owned 69% of the UTL abandoned the telecom firm last Saturday. The government of Uganda owns the remaining 31% stake in Uganda’s oldest telecom firm.
Addressing the press on Friday, UTL bosses said a capital injection of US$48m (Shs172bn) is needed to save the troubled telecom firm.
“US$48m can make an impact in UTL turnaround,” Kaboyo said.