There are allegations on social media sites that Africell Uganda, the Multinational telecom firm that acquired the Orange Uganda operation in November 2014, is up for grabs.
This follows recent harsh public criticism of the company for promoting racism, claims the troubled telecom firm vehemently denies.
When contacted yesterday about the alleged sale or early exit, Mohammad Ghaddar, the company’s Chief Operations Officer termed the recent allegations about Africell as “ridiculous and preposterous”.
“It is unthinkable that Africell would have to respond to these statements. They are unfounded and undeserving of comment. Africell’s heritage and history speaks for itself and is committed to operating successfully in Uganda,” he said, adding, “Africell promises to provide a quality service in Uganda and to be an effective partner in social development in the long term. We are here to stay, as we have done in all other countries where we operate.”
Notably, Africell acquired Orange Uganda at a time when its viability was critically at risk given the fact that it was facing a whooping debt of UShs500b.
The company (Orange) had been making losses since inception in 2009 when it bought into financially troubled Hits telecom.
According to Ghaddar, Africell had to plan and undergo a complete restructuring process involving the different aspects of the business, among which staff restructuring.
“This latter part (restructuring) involved the termination of 59 employees – 15% of the workforce. This has been painful, but necessary as one of the steps to save the company and the 85% that constitute the remaining workforce,” he explained, adding, “The staff who were terminated were paid their terminal benefits as per the laws of Uganda on the same day of termination. However, after the termination was concluded, upon the request of the affected employees, Africell entered into discussions with them to reconcile the different benefit perspectives.”
He added that half of the affected employees have since signed final settlement agreements for their supplementary benefits, while negotiations continue with the rest.
He further explained that the restructuring also involved the promotion of some of the existing employees to take on the responsibilities of the terminated employees.
“It is also important to mention that since November 2014, Africell has recruited 46 new employees and created over 600 new indirect employment opportunities in an improved trade distribution system,” he said.