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ZAMTEL will be partly privatised in about four months time to save it from total collapse, Communications and Transport Minister, Dora Siliya said yesterday.

Addressing Zamtel workers at the Zamtel and Zampost staff college in Ndola, Ms Siliya said an asset evaluation company to determine the company’s value and liabilities would be announced on Saturday this week in Lusaka.

The evaluation is expected to be completed by Christmas and a strategic equity partner will be found after a tender procedure by April next year.

Ms Siliya said that Government had realised that even though Zamtel was dealing in a profitable sector, it had been operating on a loss for many years.

“I want to assure you that I have your welfare at heart and that you have a partner in me. I am, therefore, asking for your total cooperation on this matter,” Ms Siliya said.

She said there was hope to get the best deal for the value of the company and also the best deal for the workers even in the face of the current global economic recession.

She said the new partner needed to bring in capital and a new structure of doing things at the company as the current business structure and the Government involvement was not helping the company.

Ms Siliya said communications and transport was a profitable sector but that the Government was looking for a deal that would ensure that Zambians still benefit from the international gateway.

It was also too early, Ms Siliya said, to determine if there would be any retrenchments and hoped for a smooth transition like that of Zanaco.

Zamtel managing director Mukela Muyunda assured Ms Siliya of the company’s total support.

National Union of Communication Workers president Patrick Kaonga said in an interview that the union was in full support of a strategic equity partner as long as jobs and financial security were guaranteed.

Copyright © 2008 The Times of Zambia. All rights reserved.

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