THE Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure has asked the government to take back the 35 per cent stake that Bharti Airtel has in Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL). In line with the call, the committee also asked the government to pay back the outstanding debts the company owes TTCL. The Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Prof Juma Kapuya made the remarks in Dar es Salaam on Friday during a meeting between the committee and the Management of TTCL. The Committee, according to Prof Kapuya, had toured the company to inspect progress of the National ICT Broadband Backbone, among other issues. "We had a meeting with the management of TTCL to discuss on various issues and we came up with the decision to advise the government to buy back the 35 per cent shares that Bharti Airtel has in TTCL," he said. The government is the majority shareholder with 65 per cent of the shares. Repossession of the 35 per cent stake from the Airtel will enable the government own 100 per cent of the shares. Prof Kapuya said that Bharti Airtel has failed to meet the terms as agreed in the contract with the government with regards to the development TTCL. In another development, Prof Kapuya said the Committee will also discuss and come up with a strategy to ensure that the government as well as other companies pay all outstanding debts due to TTCL. "Among the challenges that TTCL faces is poor servicing of debts by its customers, including government institutions," he said, adding that TTCL has failed to invest in other viable projects due to lack of funds. Commenting on the outstanding debt by the government, TTCL Principal Marketing and Sales Officer, Mr Peter Ngota said that the government has already started paying 8b/- it owes the company. "By December, last year, the government had already paid 2b/- and agreed to pay the rest (6b/-) in instalments," he said.
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