State owned converged telecommunication operator TelOne, is now under duress as it owes 22 companies from Africa, Asia and Europe a combined $22 million against its Internet Access Providers, who are now threatening action.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which took over nostro accounts control from private and public sector has only availed $500 000 to TelOne which is a drop in the ocean as pressure mounts against the state owned entity.
Sources close to the developments said the TelOne and RBZ are meeting today to discuss an emergency rescue strategy to avert the imminent chaos.
TelOne is in receipt of demand letters from the following service providers; TDM of Mozambique — $5,7 million for backhaul services, Telecom Capital Finance — $1,1 million for loan repayment, Duraline — $845 000 for network material, WIOCC — $6,2 million for internet bandwidth.
Mauritius-based financier, Telecom Capital Finance, is threatening to seize TelOne’s shares in the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) over a $1,1 million debt.
TelOne’s request for a bailout comes at a time when the 2019 Budget indicated that government would not be dolling out money to stressed firms, unless they were involved in critical business.
Government which has been speaking on partial privatisation of state owned enterprises for over 2 years now has done nothing but talks of privatisation in the past two annual; budgets passed.
The government no longer has money to sustain these enterprises and maintaining grip on enterprises that require foreign currency will force them to shut down if the foreign currency aid is not availed.