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TelOne Struggles With Legacy Debt, Vandalism

TelOne is facing a double challenge of recovering a massive debt from the government and dealing with rampant vandalism of its infrastructure

TelOne is facing a double challenge of recovering a massive debt from the government and dealing with rampant vandalism of its infrastructure.

The company’s CEO, Lawrence Nkala, told journalists on Thursday that the government owed TelOne ZW$184 billion as of January 31, 2023, and that the debt had continued to grow since then.

He also said that the company inherited legacy debts from the late 1980s, adding to its financial woes.

“The debt situation is a major setback for us. We have the potential to expand our services and invest in new technologies, but we are constrained by the lack of funds. We could finance our own projects if the government paid us what they owe us,” Nkala said.

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He added that the company had approached every relevant office to seek payment, but faced resistance from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and other agencies that demanded their dues regardless of TelOne’s situation.

TelOne also reported that it suffered 316 live network attacks in 2023, resulting in a loss of US$ 518,827 worth of equipment and US$ 480,950 worth of business. The company said Harare had the most attacks, followed by the Midlands Province, while Matabeleland North had the least.

Nkala said that the company was planning to phase out its copper-based infrastructure and replace it with fibre optic cables, which are more secure and efficient. He said this would help curb the vandalism problem and improve the quality of service for the customers.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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