President Museveni meeting MTN Group CEO and MTN-Uganda board chairman, Charles Mbire.

MTN Group’s Uganda affiliate is looking to increase local shareholding to 20 percent from 4 percent this year, according to Chief Executive Robert Shuter.

The decision to expand local ownership is in line with President Yoweri Museveni’s call who has said he would like MTN Ugandan to list on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) so that some of the revenue stays in the country as opposed to all moving out.

Shuter said the company planned to hold discussions with government over how to structure the extra stake sell-off.

“We would like to broaden it (local ownership) in the course of 2019…we would like to target to move it from 4 percent to 20 percent,” Shuter said.

MTN is already in talks with state-owned pension fund NSSF for a potential purchase of the extra stake, said Shuter.

NSSF has assets of more than 7.9 trillion Ugandan shillings ($2.13 billion).

“We’ve been in discussions with the NSSF, this is a potential investor in MTN Uganda…this is a way to get broad-based participation without necessarily having to go through all the complexity of the listing,” Shuter said.

Uganda recently deported four MTN Uganda executives including the firm’s top official, Wim Vanhelleputte, accusing them of compromising national security. The firm has also been accused of under-declaring its revenues and causing public revenue losses.

MTN has denied all the accusations.