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Zimbabwe targets US$350-million from telco shares

Zimbabwe targets US0-million from telco shares

Zimbabwe hopes to raise US$350-million from the sale of shares in state-owned telcos as part of economic reforms, according to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.

The reforms are aimed at boosting the economy and containing expenditure said Ncube on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

Fixed phone operator TelOne and mobile telcos NetOne and Telecel, as well as ZIMPOST and the People's Own Savings Bank (POSB) will be among the first SOEs to be privatised and commercialised.

"Having approved the implementation framework for 43 SOEs and parastatals in 2018, Government has targeted five public enterprises (Tel-One, Net-One, Telecel, ZIMPOST and POSB) for immediate reforms and work is already underway to identify transaction advisors," Ncube said.

"Government projects to realise over US$350 million from this initial process," he added.

State-owned telcos have struggled to grow revenues and return to profitability against worsening foreign currency shortages.

The Auditor General's office in Zimbabwe has flagged some of the parastatals and cast doubt over their ability to continue operating.

The government also imposed a 2% electronic transaction tax is part of austerity measures, and Ncube defended the controversial action saying it would help to raise funds for the cash-strained state.

"The 2% tax on electronic transactions, was hotly disputed when it was announced, but its impact has been significant. US$166-million was raised in the last two months of 2018, and almost US$100-million was raised in January alone," he said.

He added that the government expects to raise over US$600-million by the end of the current year.

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