Vodacom Tanzania submitted a draft prospectus for an initial public offering, as the country’s operators face a looming deadline for listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.

The country’s market leader made an application to the Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) on Friday (25 November), it said in a statement.

Tanzania’s eight operators are obliged by law to float 25 per cent of their shares by 31 December. Failure to comply could lead to fines or even loss of operating licences.

Reuters last week said the telcos were struggling to meet the year-end deadline. However, both Vodacom and Tigo were quoted as saying they would comply.

Airtel, the country’s other major player, has so far not commented.

The Tanzanian government has been exerting pressure on operators for some time. The Electronic Postal and Communications Act was originally passed in 2010, and then amended by the Finance Act 2016.

The government’s motivation for the forced listings are twofold – an enforced transparency it argues is necessary for tax purposes, and an opportunity for the country’s citizens to invest in the success of the mobile industry.

A Tanzanian official quoted last week by Reuters said the government is looking at a more gradual listing process among the country’ operators to avoid exhausting available investor cash in one go.