Zimbabwe’s TelOne challenged by debts, says parliamentary committee
Zimbabwe fixed network operator, state-owned TelOne, is facing financial difficulties because of unpaid debts, according to reports from Harare.
Reports say it owes $18 million to a number of organisations, including China’s Exim Bank, which provides soft loans for equipment purchases.
But the government also owes TelOne $73 million, and other public sector organisations a total of $25 million, according to the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communication Technologies.
The committee said: “TelOne owes China-Exim Bank $500,000, being interest and repayment on the $98 million loan facility which funded the phase one national broadband project. This arrear obligation is affecting plans for the project’s phase two which is set to expand and upgrade TelOne’s network.”
The committee said: “Any disruptions of internet service by TelOne will have a catastrophic impact on government business and the economy at large. Such a disruption will have a damning effect on the country’s communications systems, national security, TelOne’s reputation and the effect on the economy at large cannot be overemphasised.”
The committee said that the government should allocate foreign exchange to the company so that it can pay some of the bills – though that does not help TelOne’s overall financial position.