It’s no secret that Uganda’s oldest telecom firm serious is facing serious financial problems with up to UGX 366 billion in liabilities that threaten to collapse the company. After several rumors that UTL was in talks with Safaricom it seems the Lybian government has finally come out to owe up to their responsibility. On Tuesday this week, the Libyan Foreign Affairs minister, Mohamed Dayri revealed that his government will help sort out the financial challenges affecting UTL to a tune of $56 million. The Liberian government owns 69% of the shares in UTL while the Government of Uganda has 31% shares in stake.
According to the NewVision, Mr Dayri who also had bilateral talks with President Museveni on Monday said ;
[signoff icon=”quote-circled”]“It is true that Utl, one of the biggest investments we have in Uganda has issues and that is the major purpose for my visit to Uganda, I admit a wide range of issues such as good governance, lack of state of the art modern equipment like our competitors have to face the competition are some of the issues affecting UTL operations. Since 2010, we have injected in $72m but we are going to pump in an additional $56m in the next two months to be in position to compete fairly,” [/signoff]
The Libyan government also acknowledges that UTL’s current infrastructure is very old and cannot keep up with latest technological developments like 4G LTE that are required by today’s market standards.
The main cause of the company’s financial challenges is the monthly high operation costs of $1 million (UGX 3.2 billion) that is needed to run the firm. The Libyan Government International Relations Department manager, Younis Bishari said they need at least $150m to revamp UTL. When the promised $56m financial bail out is expected to come is not yet clear, but it’s a breathe of fresh air to know that UTL will remain in business after all.