Zimbabwean telecomms firms call for increased forex allocation

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS companies have called for increased foreign currency allocation to enable them to revamp their infrastructure as most of them are saddled with legacy debts.

Different telecommunications companies appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services this Monday where they highlighted different challenges they are facing in particular access to foreign currency.

“We do not have enough foreign currency to service our infrastructure, We require 2million US dollars per month for our operational cost but currently at the auction market we can only bid 300 000 thousand dollars per week which is far below what we need,” explained TelOne senior finance manager, Bridget Hwata

“The foreign currency that is being allocated to telecom companies is inadequate. We have the vision to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 and that means we need fast internet like upgrading to the 5G system,” said Hilda Mutseyekwa, Potraz Director of Economics, Tariffs and competition.

ICT, Postal and Courier Services Permanent Secretary, Sam Kundishora appealed to the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe to allow some of the operators to participate on the foreign currency auction market by way of the waiver on the orange flagging status, owing to outstanding acquittals.

“Challenges faced from the participation at the auction system include huge time lag from the allocation to receipt funds. Delays in acquittal form,” said Mr. Kundishora..

Most of the telecommunications companies are saddled with legacy debts at a time ICTs have been cited as a key driver in the attainment of an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.