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Canadian telecom firm’s contract now on the line

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by BAK, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    Canadian telecom firm’s contract now on the line


    Posted Sunday, November 16 2008 at 13:07

    Tanzania is likely to sever a telecoms management contract with Canada’s SaskTel International over reports of poor performance.

    A new report recently submitted to the government on the performance of the state owned-Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL) is likely to stir up controversy over the terms of the three-year management contract awarded to the Canadian firm.

    A highly placed government source told The EastAfrican last week that the government formed a special team three months ago to investigate TTCL’s performance over the past five years.

    The source said the team last week handed over its findings to the government, recommending that Tanzania end the arrangement.

    The team was chaired by the former longserving ambassador Nicolaus Kuhanga.

    Contacted for comment, Mr Kuhanga however told The EastAfrican, “Whether I have handed over the report to the government or not, I am not the [team’s] spokesperson.”

    Pressed further, he would not deny or confirm that the report had recommended cancelling SaskTel’s contract.

    The investigation came after TTCL workers called on the government to cancel or review the deal with SaskTel International, claiming that the contract was hampering the development of the firm.

    The workers also asked the government to end a 25-year shareholding deal between TTCL and Celtel International as it too was hampering the roll out of TTCL’s mobile services throughout the country.

    The government in May 2007 awarded a contract to SaskTel International of Canada to manage TTCL as the local communication firm was said to be making losses.

    The government has been unable to sustain the operations of TTCL on its own, and the company has been in several joint management arrangements due to financial problems, resulting in the retrenchment of 400 employees across the country.

    Joseph Mapunda, publicity manager of Consolidated Holding Corporation (CHC), which is vested with the mandate to implement the privatisation of TTCL, told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam last week that CHC is not aware of the investigation team or the report.

    The Canadian firm was last year awarded the three-year contract worth $5 million to manage all aspects of the operations, maintenance and expansion of TTCL and improve the company’s financial, commercial and technical performance.

    SaskTel International was supposed to deploy several key management personnel to Tanzania to oversee implementation of the contract, with the four senior management positions, including that of chief executive officer, being held by the Canadians.

    Reported by Mike Mande, Joseph Mwamunyange and Wilfred Edwin