Potraz to audit telecoms firms’ financial statements

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) will audit financial statements of telecomunication firms that failed to pay licensing fees to ascertain veracity of such incapacity. Indications from the regulator are that some telecommunication firms were not yet fully paid up on their renewal licence fees, citing the prevailing difficult economic environment. However, there are fears that some firms could be taking advantage of the prevailing economic challenges to dodge payment of license fees on time.

Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete told journalists at a recent media forum that the regulator would allow the telecommunication firms to stagger their payments over a period of time through instalments.

However, he said an audit on financial statements would be carried out first to prove if the telecoms firms really lacked the financial capacity to meet the financial obligations of their licensing requirements.

“Operators are not up to date with their license fees due to economic challenges. As a regulator we sought authority to compel them to pay in instalments.

“We now have a legal framework enabling us to look at their financial statements to see if they really cannot pay upfront,” he said.

It is understood Econet, which is the country’s largest mobile operator is the only mobile network provider that is fully paid up.

According to the telecommunications sector registered a 19 percent increase in revenue to $292,7 million in 2017 third quarter, compared to $244,5 million recorded in the previous quarter driven by growth in data usage.

The aggregate revenue per user per month increased by 10,8 percent to $4,41 from $3,98 recorded in the previous quarter.

According to the regulator, mobile internet data usage was up 39,1 percent to record 4 129 terabytes.

The country has been experiencing an increase in mobile data usage as mobile phone and internet penetration also increased.

Figures from the regulator show that mobile penetration rate increased by 3,5 percentage points to 100,5 percent from 97 percent which was recorded in the second quarter.–herald

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