Uganda Telecom Managing Director Mark Shoebridge and Corporation Secretary David Nambale have reportedly been fired over exorbitantly high salaries and refused to take pay cuts.
Mr Shoebridge was receiving Shs.150m per month as gross pay while Nambale was earning about Shs 90 million as gross monthly pay, amounts that Uganda’s Finance ministry is not ready to foot considering UTL latest financial meltdown and the troubled telecom was accumulating debt at the rate of over Shs. 2bn per month.
In January 2016 before quitting Utl for Nigeria where he worked for Vodacom as executive head of operations, Mr Shoebridge had until 2013 worked at Utl as chief fixed services officer, before he was appointed MD in May 2015.
He is experienced in the telecommunications and IT profession with experience that stretches more than 20 years in diverse business conglomerates.
Also told to step aside is Board Chairman Stephen Kaboyo.
Media reports said that Evelyn Anite, the state minister of finance for investment and privatization confirmed Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) has been put under provisional administration for one month (from April 28) before government makes another decision.
Anite, according to The Indepedent said the company’s assets are Shs 148 billion – almost five times less than liabilities – recorded at Shs 700 billion – which means the company is insolvent and illegally operating. It has to be shutdown to pave way for clearing of its creditors.
After the departure of Mr. Shoebridge and Nambale, a provisional administration headed by Bemanya Twebaze, the executive director of another government agency – Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has taken over UTL’s leadership. URSB gets its powers in this case from section 198 of the insolvency Act, 2011.
Uganda Telecom abandoned
In March, Mr. Matia Kasaija announced that the government had taken operations and management of UTL, after the majority shareholder, Libyan Post, Telecommunications, and Information Technology Company (LPTIC) confirmed to the government that it was no longer going to fund the operations of the telecom confirmed. On Sunday, the LPTIC finally spoke out for the first time since the government takeover and questioned the Uganda government commitment to turnaround UTL.
UTL was in such a sorry state that had reached a point where it could no longer even have working capital to run day-to-day operations. LPTIC says it did this on a monthly basis. It also blamed the government for failing to honor its debt obligations estimated to be about Shs16bn from the provision of services like data and fixed lines.
UTL is in dire need of a capital injection of about Shs100bn in the short term if it is to be able to generate returns. Kasaija last week when announcing the closure said “UTL’s performance since 2007 has been characterized by heavy indebtedness, the decline in market share and losses” and that this “…was due to inadequate investment, competitive pressure, a dilapidated network and governance challenges.”