Civil society organisations in Zambia have called on the government to release the valuation report it commissioned as part of its plans to sell off a majority stake in fixed line incumbent Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel).
Fackson Shamenda, former Zambia Congress of Trade Union president, said that the release of the information would clear up potential concerns over the sale, noting: 'We want to know the evaluation and its outcome, up to now, very few people are privileged with the information. There hasn't been transparency in the sale of Zamtel. Maybe [the] government is right to sell Zamtel, but without the valuation report, we won't know the truth.'
Having decided to sell a 75% stake in Zamtel earlier this year, the government appointed RP Capital to evaluate the telco's assets, but never released the report, leading to complaints that the process lacked transparency.
The government has reiterated its stance however that it cannot make the report public, with Dr Buleti Nesmukila, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, saying: 'The decision not to disclose the value of the company is the right one, and an important tool for negotiations for the sale.'
The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), which is legally mandated to dispose of state enterprises, has revealed that eight companies – including Orascom Telecom, Portugal Telecom and Vimpelcom – have pre-qualified for the stake sale, and those firms are due to complete due diligence today, with bids due by midday. Dow Jones Newswires reports that the identities of those companies that have submitted bids for the stake will be released later today at a public ceremony by the ZDA. The ZDA will subsequently review the bids, announcing shortlisted candidates on 11 January.
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