The Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Director General Dr Gift Machengete has confirmed that all operators are paying their license fees.
Many people were of the belief that some mobile network operators flouted license fees. Further, people claimed the regulatory body exercised favouritism with regards to the payment of license fees. Addressing journalists at the POTRAZ offices in Harare, Dr Machengete assured the people that all operators were paying their license fees.
By Pearson Mbendera
“Operators and paying their licenses and fees. We assist those who are struggling, we have been empowered to negotiate with those that are struggling to pay, to pay in installments,” said Dr Machengete.
In December 2017, Finance and Economic Development Minister Hon Patrick Chinamasa while presenting the 2018 National Budget revealed that state-controlled mobile network operators, Telecel and NetOne, defaulted on licence fee payments, prejudicing government of $7,5 million and denting Treasury’s non-tax revenue targets.
The telecommunication industry has been making a lot of money and is one of the best performing sectors in the country. In 2017, the sector generated over a billion dollars in revenues.
In case of failure to pay license fees by a telecoms operator, the regulatory body first investigates the case to determine whether the corporations have valid claims for its struggles in paying the license fees.
“If we look at their financials and we are convinced that they have genuine reasons and are really struggling and failing and that they are not hiding any revenues from the regulator, then we negotiate and see how best they can make good of their license fees in terms of payment,” added Dr Machengete.
Econet Wireless has been deemed to have been harshly treated by the regulatory authority which demanded that it pay its licence fees in one go while other operators were shown leniency.
In January of this year, NetOne Acting CEO Mr Brian Mutandiro also confirmed that the state-owned telecoms company was paying its license fees and complying with their licensing requirements amid rumours that they were not paying their fees.