Minister of Transport and Communications Mutotwe Kafwaya says government has no intentions of privatizing Zamtel despite the company not making profit since 2013.
Kafwaya was speaking in Parliament when Mufulira PF member of parliament Dr Evans Chibanda asked whether the Zamtel declared any profits from 2012 to 2018.
Kafwaya said Zamtel only a declared profit of K15.98 Million in 2013 but that no profit was made in the years that followed.
“Zamtel declared profit in 2013, a profit of K15.98 Million was recorded while no profit was made in the other years. Zamtel is able to perform variably with other networks operators. Zamtel has been growing its subscriber base and market share over the last few years from 1,244,117 in 2016, representing 10.4% market share to 2,113,594 in 2017 that represented market share 15.9% and it grew further 2,555,909 in 2018 which translated in 16.5% market share and currently it is at 3.3 million people representing 19% market share. This growth is largely attributed to the government program of rolling out towers to an underserved and served areas and other commercial initiatives. For now, government has no plans to privatize Zamtel,” Kafwaya said.
“I categorically state that Zamtel made a profit in 2013 and the other years, Zamtel did not make a profit and it did actually made losses. Has government capitalized Zamtel? Madam Speaker, every member of parliament here will attest to the fact that Zamtel has been erecting towers across the country and that is the demonstration of capitalization. So I can again confirm that government has been capitalizing Zamtel. I have said that in one of those years, Zamtel made a profit that doesn’t suggest that I am showering praise on Zamtel, I am stating the facts. Zamtel is capable and has been able to compete with other MNOs because it has demonstrated penetration in the market share. Market share has grown the numbers are clear numbers don’t lie they have been growing subscriber base that means that they have been growing subscriber base, that means that Zamtel has been competing. Government will ensure that the performance of Zamtel improves after it does so a listing is coming.”
He said government was optimistic that Zamtel would soon start remitting dividends to government after the growth of its market share.
“An investor knows that when you invest in a company, sometimes that company will perform very well at other times it will not. And government should know that Zamtel is useful to it both for revenue and its strategic importance. Therefore, government should be patient and ensure that Zamtel begins to perform. The investor, who is the Ministry of Finance, should work with Zamtel to make sure that all of these strategies are actually to the benefit, I have no doubt in my mind that Zamtel’s performance is going to improve and eventually government will get dividends from Zamtel going forward. Zamtel has got employees who are paid on a monthly basis for all these years, while they did not post profits, they earn salaries. Zamtel has got suppliers who have been getting paid and Zamtel has suppliers who have been cued as payables from that I can clearly state that Zamtel is not insolvent,” stated Kafwaya.