Bharti Airtel is planning to give part of its shares in Airtel Tanzania to the government, bringing to a total the country’s shares in the company to 49 up from 40, Reuters has reported.
Following talks in Dar es Salaam between President John Magufuli and Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, Bharti Airtel would retain a 51 percent stake in the company but the government’s amount of shares has not been disclosed.
This comes amid a long-held dispute over ownership of the Tanzanian mobile operator.
President Magufuli claimed in 2017 that state run Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd owned the local subsidiary of Bharti Airtel but had been denied shares.
Bharati Airtel has promised to give part of its shares to the government, and pay it dividends.
“It’s great that they have agreed to give dividends to the government, which for eight to 10 years we had not received. The percentage of dividends is still under discussion,” President Magufuli said.
Other mobile phone operators in Tanzania include Vodacom Tanzania, part of South Africa’s Vodacom, Tigo Tanzania, which is part of Sweden’s Millicom and Halotel, owned by Vietnam-based telecoms operator Viettel.
In 2016, the president ordered telecoms companies to list at least a quarter of their units on Tanzania’s stock exchange to increase domestic ownership.