Multi-national mobile telecommunications network operator Airtel Malawi has committed to comply with provisions of the Communications Act to ensure that its ownership has 20 percent local shareholding.
Airtel Malawi made the commitment in a statement yesterday in reaction to a K820 million fine Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) slapped the operator for allegedly breaching provisions in the Act.
Reads the Airtel statement in part: “Airtel Malawi is committed to abiding by the regulations that govern our business and industry and is supportive of enhancing the participation of Malawians on the Malawi Stock Exchange [MSE].
“To this end, Airtel has been and continues to work towards ensuring that the business complies with the requirements of the Communications Act of 2016 for 20 percent local shareholding of the company.”
In the statement, Airtel Malawi also confirmed paying the K820 million fine to Macra.
Initially, Macra made a determination to fine Airtel Malawi K500 million in December 2018 and further ordered that it should pay another K20 million every 14 days for remaining in breach.
However, before the deadline, Airtel Malawi applied to Macra for an approval to transfer 20 percent shareholding to a company called Airtel Employees Welfare Limited, a move that did not convince the regulator.
Despite appealing its fine in January this year, Macra stood firm on its decision and in July Airtel made the payment.
Macra director general Godfrey Itaye told a news conference in Blantyre on Tuesday that the localisation of shares by Airtel was due within two years from the date the operator’s licence became operational on February 7 2014. The Communications Act stipulates that any electronic service provider must have 20 percent of its shareholding locally, a condition that the mobile service provider failed to meet since its licence renewal in 2014.