MDC-T MPs yesterday called for the revamp of the whole management team at NetOne, accusing them of failing to turn around the parastatal’s economic fortunes and declare dividends to government since the telecommunications company ventured into the mobile phone business.
The MPs made the call as the House of Assembly unanimously approved a $218 954 843 loan agreement between the government and Export Import Bank of China for Phase II of NetOne’s expansion project.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa brought the loan agreement before the National Assembly, saying it was going to accrue an interest rate of 2% per annum and it was going to be payable over 240 months, which included 60 months’grace period.
“This will assist NetOne to expand its network so that it has in excess of 1 000 towers from the current 500 towers,” Chinamasa said.
“The commitment fee is 0, 25% and the management fee is 0,25%, and it is one of the infrastructure foundations that we are putting in place which is necessary for communication and it is my hope that after this infrastructure is put in place, NetOne along with other networks will make the necessary contribution to the fiscus by way of taxes,” he said.
Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire , Harare West MP Jessie Majome, Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi, and Binga South MP Joel Gabbuza — all MDC-T — said NetOne managers were incompetent and had failed to exhibit good corporate governance and to outperform their competitors Econet and Telecel.
“Before we approve this loan, there is need to look at the structure of NetOne in terms of corporate governance and failure by management to turn around the company. For us to then approve the $280 million and put it into NetOne with all its problems might be a mistake. NetOne has put a lot of money into soccer yet it is not viable and they operate in the same environment with Econet and Telecel,” Maridadi said. “There will be need to have periodic updates about the performance of the loan before Parliament, and there is also need to shake up management at
NetOne,” Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC-T) said.
However, Chinamasa said there was no need to change
NetOne management because the problem had been that all along the shareholder (government) had failed to capitalise the institution.