MTN Chairman, Charles Mbiire.

Telecom giant MTN has secured a licence renewal at $ 100m (Shs372 billion) for another 12 years, triggering ecstasy among its huge customer base happy and ending protracted negotiations that had lasted for nearly two years.

In a statement posted on its social media networks, the telecommunications market leader confirmed that it had secured a licence renewal.

“MTN Uganda provides telecommunications services under Second National Operator Licence for the operation of a telecommunications system issued on 15th April 1998 for a period of 20 years. The licence expired on October 12, 2018 but was variously extended to accommodate the conclusion of renewal negotiations, “reads the MTN statement.

The statement added that signing of the contract will be done in “the coming days.”
The telecom giant was initially opposed to the terms of the licence renewal, as set by the government and the renewal process, but negotiations that involved the company’s top brass and President Museveni unlocked the impasse. The process was transparent as there was no underground dealings involved.

The government had initially insisted that MTN lists 20% of its shares on the local stock exchange but a solution was found to this.
The renewal of MTN’s licence comes as further relief to the telecom giant as the Tax Appeals Tribunal also ruled that MTN should pay Shs20 billion in taxes, and not Shs360 billion as was being demanded by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

Basing on a whistle-blower, URA had claimed that MTN had under-declared its revenue but when it carried out an audit, the tax-body discovered that MTN had accurately declared all its revenues and duly paid the right amount of tax.