An amendment to a new finance bill will compel Tanzania’s operators, including Vodacom, Bharti Airtel, Millicom and Viettel, to list on the country’s stock exchange.
If the bill is passed, the eight operators must float 25 per cent of the shares in their local operations, reported the Financial Times. The exchange in Dar es Salaam is described as “thinly traded”.
According to GSMA Intelligence, the country has a total of 39 million mobile connections (Q1 2016 figures), with three outstanding players: Vodacom (12.4 million) Bharti Airtel (10.7 million) and Millicom’s Tigo (10.6 million).
Phillip Mpango, the country’s finance and planning minister, told the national assembly that the proposal would “help the government trace the exact revenue generated by these companies”, in addition to enabling Tanzanians to hold shares in the mobile industry.
The country’s mobile industry has been a significant success, not least in the area of mobile money where it can justifiably lay claim to second spot behind Kenya in terms of take-up and innovation.
Mpango denied that the bill was a reversal of the country’s previous strategy, arguing it enforced a stipulation in the Electronic and Postal Communication Act of 2010 for foreign telecoms companies to list locally.
Certainly, there have been previous efforts by the government to enforce listing, although deadlines have always been extended.