Uganda urges telcos to list on local stock exchange

KAMPALA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — Uganda has urged telecommunications companies operating in the country to list on the local stock exchange when their operating licenses are renewed.

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), in its new terms, said that when a company gets a national telecommunications operator license, it must list at least 20 percent of its shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange.

Ibrahim Bbosa, UCC public relations officer, told Xinhua by telephone on Wednesday that the listing must be within two years of the date of issuance of the license.

"The listing requirement is not a cutthroat measure to say that if you have not listed you will not get a license. You first get a license, then we ask you to ensure that you list in the next two or so years," Bbosa said.

He said the new regulation, among several others, was agreed upon after a meeting held with the telecommunications companies in October.

The regulation comes after President Yoweri Museveni in January urged South African-owned telecommunication company MTN Group to list its shares on the local stock exchange to enable Ugandans to own part of it.

"Local ownership is important because it helps us stem capital flight which happens when the company is fully foreign owned," Museveni said, noting that repatriating all profits with little value addition and wealth creation for Ugandans is "unfair."

MTN Group chief executive Rob Shuter, during a meeting with Museveni on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, said Uganda has only 5 percent shareholding in MTN and that there are negotiations to dispose more shares.

Other major telecommunications companies operating in Uganda include Airtel and Africell.

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