Friday, January 15, 2010

ZDA responds to Sata over sale of Zamtel

COMMENT - There is no justification for the privatisation of ZAMTEL. DG Lungu is crying because his corrupt scam is being threatened. At no time did the government point out to parliament or the press or the public why ZAMTEL needs to be privatised, and how services are going to be improved when it is. Going by past privatisations, they won't be. Time to start running the government and ZAMTEL seriously, and not look at privatisation as an easy solution and a way to make quick money.

ZDA responds to Sata over sale of Zamtel
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 15 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT

ZAMBIA Development Agency (ZDA) acting director general Muhabi Lungu has said Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata’s plans to sabotage Zamtel’s privatisation process through threats to renationalise the company if he forms the next government are unfortunate and unpatriotic.

And all four foreign companies that submitted first-round bids for buying 75 per cent stake in Zamtel have been shortlisted to the next round bidding process of the controversial sale process.

Recently, Sata was quoted in the international media to have said PF would renationalise Zamtel if elected in 2011 because the decision to privatise the company was not in the best interest of the country.

But Lungu said Sata’s statement had not deterred any of the companies from pursuing their interest to acquire a majority stake in Zamtel.

“I think they (interested companies) are serious to go forward and it means that they have taken due consideration of and they think it is a worthwhile endeavour to participate,” Lungu said. “Obviously, from the technical point of view, the comments that have been made are unfortunate because what we are doing as ZDA and the intentions of the government whether you like the government or not are noble intentions...”

And Lungu, who described the four companies that had been shortlisted as serious and respected telecommunications firms, said all the firms would be required to conduct further due diligence on Zamtel starting next week.
India's Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Angola's consortium of Unitel and Angola Cables, Libya's LAP Greencom Ltd and LAP Green Networks and the Russian consortium of Altimo Holdings and VimpelCom are all in the race to acquire between 51 and 75 per cent of the stake in Zamtel.

Lungu said at the end of the due diligence, bidders would be required to submit new bids against a set of transaction documents which would include a draft shareholders’ agreement and a draft sale and purchase agreement.

Lungu, who stressed that the number of bidders would be reduced during the next phase, said at the commencement of the next phase, shortlisted bidders would receive comprehensive details of the requirements and timings of the next phase of the process.

He said the negotiations with the possible buyers of Zamtel would start between April and May.

“To some extent, we will stick to that timeframe but again what we don’t want to do is to set a timeframe on the assumptions that that there can be some contingent issues,” said Lungu.

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