KAMPALA, The government has regained full ownership of telecommunication services provider Uganda Telecom, ending years of uncertainty at the country's oldest telecommunications company.

The news of the takeover was contained in a document signed here Wednesday by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, which stated that the takeover of the company was immediate.

Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) had been privatized in June 2000 after the government divested a 51 per cent stake in the company to a foreign consortium. Currently, the Ugandan government co-owns UTL with the Libyan government, which has a 69 per cent stake, with the government owning the rest of the shares.

Officials of the company were recently accused by Parliament of running down the company and also of mistreating workers while at the same time helping themselves to hefty bonuses and salaries.

Customers of the firm have also suffered in the last few days after telecom firm Airtel decided to sever its working relationship with UTL over unpaid inter-connection fees, meaning customers of UTL cannot call or receive calls from Airtel.

In the document, Kasaija said the government has taken over UTL to protect Uganda's interests and save hundreds of jobs.



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