The Indian Telecommunications firm Bharti Airtel has agreed to pay $26 million (KSh2.6 billion) to the Tanzanian government over the next five years following a dispute over the ownership of Tanzania’s telecommunications business.
The Telco also waived a $407 million debt owed by Airtel Tanzania as part of the agreement with the government of Tanzania.
The Indian firm fell out with the Tanzania government in 2017 after President Magufuli claimed full ownership of the Tanzania Telecommunications Company which Bharti partially acquired in 2001. Bharti Airtel bought 60 per cent of the government-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Company in February 2001. President Magufuli argued that Bharti Airtel cheated the authorities in the acquisition process. However, the Indian Telco denied the claims.
After extensive negotiations between Tanzanian officials and Bharti Airtel representatives, the Indian company agreed to increase Tanzania government’s ownership from 40 per cent to 49 per cent. Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal said they expect the agreement would “give a fresh start to the company.”