Operators in Tanzania forced to list shares locally

Tanzania has amended a new finance bill in a move which will oblige its operators to list their shares on the country’s stock exchange.

If the bill passes, all eight of the country’s operators – among them Bharti Airtel, Millicom, Viettel and Vodacom – will be forced to float 25% of the shares in their local units on the “thinly traded” stock exchange in Dar es Salaam.

The lead players in Tanzania are Vodacom with 12.4 million connections, Bharti Airtel with 10.7 million, and Tigo (a Millicom operator) with 10.6 million. At the end of Q1 2016 the country had a total of around 39 million connections.

Addressing the country’s national assembly, Finance and Planning Minister Phillip Mpango stated that the bill would “help the government trace the exact revenue generated by these companies”. He added that the move would also allow Tanzanians to acquire shares in the country’s mobile industry.

Mpango denied that the proposal represented a reversal on the country’s previous policy, noting that the Electronic and Postal Communication Act of 2010 requires foreign countries to list their shares locally. While previous governments have attempted to enforce this stipulation, in practice the deadlines have typically slipped.

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