Saturday, August 08, 2009

Zamtel sale won’t harm security – Lungwangwa

Zamtel sale won’t harm security – Lungwangwa
Written by Florence Bupe
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:49:53 PM

COMMUNICATIONS minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa has said the privatisation of Zamtel will not in any way compromise the country’s security system as suggested by some stakeholders.

In his draft ministerial statement to Parliament on the partial sale of Zamtel yesterday, Prof Lungwangwa said the transaction would in fact strengthen the country’s security through enhanced technology.

“We, in no way, seek to undermine the security of this nation as some have suggested. In fact, in privatising Zamtel, Zambia stands to strengthen the security of our country through modern technologies as opposed to living in the sixties,” he said.

Prof Lungwangwa said the privatisation of incumbent telecommunications companies was not taking place in Zambia alone, and cited Ghana as an example of an African state that had sold off 70 per cent of the state-owned Ghana Telecom to a private sector player, Vodafone.

He said since the privatisation of the company, Ghana Telecom had registered significant positive strides in its operations.

Prof Lungwangwa assured that Zamtel would only be released to a bidder that would meet the requirements set by the government.

He explained that following the evaluation of Zamtel by RP Capital consultants and subsequent findings and recommendations, the government had directed the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) to undertake the implementation of the recommendations in accordance with the ZDA Act 11 of 2006.

“The report of the consultants was presented to the Cabinet Committee of Ministers on Zamtel. The consultants recommended that in order to avert a collapse of Zamtel, the government should look for an equity partner who can buy 75 per cent shareholding in Zamtel and retain 25 per cent equity in the company. The committee studied the report and presented a joint cab memo to the Economic Restructuring and Development Committee of Cabinet (ERDC),” said Prof Lungwanga.

“The recommendations of the ERDC were subsequently approved and adopted by the full Cabinet...It is expected that ZDA will implement this decision in line with the ZDA Act.”

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