President Museveni has reiterated government’s commitment to ban foreign betting companies, which he says have accumulated a lot of money that is taken out of the country.
According to a press statement from State House, the President is irked by the fact that foreign companies, including telecom firms in the country are ‘milking’ vulnerable Ugandans by not adding value to their products.
In his meeting with MTN Group Chief Executive Officer Rob Shuter at the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, the President called upon foreign businesses and the government to come up with a win-win formula devoid of exploitation of the local people.
This will help to avoid grievances between locals and foreign investors, President Museveni said.
“We had issues of people cheating our taxes and under declaring calls. We bought our own machines and were able to see all this. It is important that you float shares on the local stock exchange to allow for local ownership now that the license has been renewed,” he said.
According to the President, the mere ‘talking’ services have led to severe leakage of the country’s forex.
“IT penetration in Africa can end up being a problem if you are providing a service for people to just talk without creating wealth. Telecommunications then get dollars which they take out, leaking even the little money that the country earns from its exports. More locally owned companies should be allowed to earn money so that most of it remains here,” he said adding that smarter ways of handling this and ensure that at least 70 per cent including taxes stay in the country should be found.
On his part, Mr. Shuter said Uganda has only five per cent shareholding in MTN and that they are in the process of negotiating about disposing shares to NSSF.
He acknowledged that disguised calls that led to less taxes are a shared problem and that his company was committed to resolving this and complying with the laws of Uganda.
“We open to any investigations to resolve the issues raised and thanked government for renewing their license,” he said.
The World Economic Forum closes on Friday, January 25.
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