MTN in talks to sell stake to NSSF

The telecom should also list on the Uganda Stock Exchange, President Museveni said

MTN Uganda and the government are in talks that could see the National Social Security Fund taking a stake in the telecom, increasing local ownership in the country’s biggest taxpayer from the current 5%, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The development was revealed by the president’s office following a meeting between Mr Museveni and MTN Group’s chief executive, Robert Shuter, in Davos, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

The move also seems to be a precondition to renew MTN’s licence to operate in Uganda. The telecom’s licence expired last October, and since then it has been under pressure from the government to increase local ownership.

While recommending that MTN’s licence be renewed, Uganda Communications Commission—the sector regulator—said last year it should list on the local exchange.

Most importantly, President Museveni seems to have taken a keen interest in the telecom’s ownership, believing that Ugandans should own a larger share of the company.

Bloomberg says a statement released by the president’s office after the meeting said he brought up the issue. ““It is important that you float shares on the local stock exchange to allow for local ownership now that the license has been renewed,” Mr Museveni said.

MTN has operated on provisional licences since the expiry of its first licence, issued in 1998 and valid for 20 years. The new licence will authorise it to operate for ten years.