Home | News    Wednesday 17 February 2010

South Sudan admits sale of Gemtel to Libyan company

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By Ngor Arol Garang

February 16, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Engineer Stephen Juma, an undersecretary in the ministry of telecommunications and postal services, of the Juba based regional government of South Sudan, has confirmed the sale of Gemtel to a Libyan telecom company

Ugandan Telecom announced this week the Libyan Arab Investment Portfolio (LAP) Green Networks signed an agreement to buy a stake of 80 per cent of Gemtel on January 16. The dealwas signed by Abdulbaset Elazzabi, the managing director of LAP Green Networks and Augustus Ceaser Mulenga, I-Telecom’s CEO and proprietor of Gemtel.

The official attending a follow up meeting on communication gateway with authorities from federal ministry of telecommunication and postal services said the sale is in line with decision to own separate gateway with the same country code number +249.

The ministry upon approval by authorities from the regional government of South Sudan has decided to stop using Ugandan dialing code for Gemtel line, because usage of this code +256 has been a centre of heated debates in the Ugandan parliament, he said.

"Our use of this code was being misconstrued by some members of parliament in the government of Uganda;" he commented adding talks are underway to complete discussions for separate gateway for South Sudan. We are at conclusion phase with federal ministry of telecommunication and postal services, he adds.

He further added that Ugandans have repeatedly been asking questions why I-Telecom Ltd, a Ugandan telecommunication company, has given out South Sudan a permit to use its national code +256 since 2006.

Ugandan members of parliament have persistently complained that country had lost millions of shillings for usage of code without paying direct taxes to their government.

But Gemtel executive officer, identified as Augustus Caesar Mulenga had disputed the claim saying his company was paying UTL 50,000 dollars, an approximate amount of 89.5million shillings for connection fees.

The Ugandan minister also buttressed Caesar’s statement saying allegations that Gemtel uses the Ugandan dialing code for free holds no water. "It is not correct that to say that the code is for free, the operators have interconnected charges," the minister reportedly said.

General Gier Chuang Aluong, minister of internal affairs in the government of South Sudan, who previously served as minister of telecommunications and postal service also recommended to his successor General Madut Biar Yel to increase follow up meetings with federal ministry of telecommunications and postal services.

"We have already agreed with the federal ministry of telecommunications and postal services and there was a memo that the central government would give one gateway to south Sudan based on understanding that it will maintain one code +249 for operation in the whole country," said Stephen Juma.

They two parties also agreed to form National Telecommunication Corporation to regulate and supervise operational functions / activities of the telecommunication companies, he said adding this body was to be formed as stipulated in the CPA.

The agreement to form this telecommunication corporation was reached by high executive committee representing both NCP and the SPLM in 2008, he explained.

He continued to say the branch of this body in the south would look after FM radio stations and radio communications while the postal service remains the same under the federal ministry of communication and information with regional branch offices in Juba , Khartoum and other places .

(ST)

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  • 17 February 2010 05:46, by Dinka Boy

    If possible, South Sudan should look for different area code that differs with 254,256,249. We should used codes like 253, 250, 205 etc.
    Thanks

    repondre message

    • 17 February 2010 06:25, by johnmaker

      To add to your comment Mr Dinka Boy.Southern Sudan could used code like 305,203,255,since those codes no any country in world using them instead of using Kenyan,Uganda and plus so called Khartoum code.We should creat our own to prove we can do better than other think about us.Thank

      repondre message

    • 17 February 2010 09:00, by Dr.Agany

      I believe u don’t have knowledge about the area coding system within the East African block. The area codes u picked at random belong to some countries within Africa. Ur suggestion is good but push higher on the ladder to discover more about ur eco-system. Did u know that the following code areas belong to their respective countries?

      Rwanda..............250
      Tazania..............255
      Djibouti.............253
      Mozambique......258
      DRC...................243
      Zambia..............260
      Malawi...............265
      Zimbabwe..........263
      Namibia.............264

      repondre message

  • 17 February 2010 07:52, by Gatmi raan

    To: careless & incompetent (GOSS)

    I understand in globalized economy, everything from financial crisis and communication systems, all internconnected like never before. thanks to rapid technological evolution of the last decade of the twentieth century. and investments became transnational. but I would cautious in this regard, the Selling of a communication company like Gemtel to a foreing country which does have a mutual link to our enemy like Libya is very troubling. I would prefered not to sell it to a company from Libya at this time, until we (Southerners) have mutured to some extend that we could monitored what information is being shared across various communication systems that could have a National security implications within our Country. This kind of recklesness by GOSS to sale such a sensitive to a country known for its sabotage and balckmails acrosss the continent is a equivalent to a treasonous act.

    repondre message

    • 17 February 2010 08:02, by Gatmi raan

      • To: careless & incompetent (GOSS)
      I understand in globalized economy, everything from financial crisis and communication systems, all internconnected like never before. thanks to rapid technological evolution of the last decade of the twentieth century. An investments became transnational. But I would add this cautious note, The selling of a communication company like Gemtel to a foreign country like Libya which does have a mutual link to our enemy (i.e North Sudan..and many more) is very troubling. I would preferred if the GOSS not sell it to a company from Libya at this moment, until we (Southerners) have mutured to some extend that we could monitored what information is being shared across various communication systems that could have a National security implications within our Country. This kind of recklessness by GOSS to sale such a company to a country known for its sabotage and blackmails across this continent is a equivalent to a treasonous act.

      repondre message

    • 17 February 2010 10:24, by kuur Deng

      To raan.

      It is of no superise to hear that GOSS have accepted Gamtel to Libyan company,of course the recent global financial crisis have an impact on south Sudan to get access on foriegn aid but the major problem right now is who are the south Sudanese enemies,and from where do they come from, and how can we recognize our enemies? From outside or from within? I think Libya is the first enemy of the south,since the war began and not only that but the whole Arabs world in general whom have long term planning to get rid of the south Sudan since in century.And what matter is that our leaders are totally money minded that they couldn’t event identify the source of problems infuture since in signing of CPA.And according to my observation is that we are going to win the long awaited objective thus the enemies shall find a way to tackle our success.THE QUESTION IS, WHO KNOWS THIS AMONG OUR LEADERS?

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      • 17 February 2010 11:12, by Gatmi raan

        Kuur Deng

        None of our leaders is aware of how potential a risk it is to our National Security. by relying on a foreign company to allow it to operate our communication system when we don’t have a mechanism in place to monitored future terrorist acts against our homeland. but thanks for your comments and concern about our National Security. people like you & me should keep the pressure on GOSS to withdraw the bid or sell. I also would urge all the concern citizens of the South on this site to come together on this and voiced their concerns by petiotioning the GOSS halt or withdraw altogether the sell of Gemtel. It would be a Suicidet act if such sell goes forward. I would like to appeal to SSLA (South Sudan Legislative Assembly) to cancelled the Sell.

        repondre message

  • 17 February 2010 19:31, by Time1

    This very strength, because we all remember it was Muamar Gadafi who was spreading propaganda that is south sudan seperate then south sudans resources will be exploited by foreigners, now it is Libya who is the first to rush into south sudan to exploit its opportunities.

    repondre message

    • 17 February 2010 20:12, by kuminyandi

      Hey Junubien!

      Do not jump to conclusion without thinking. Many of you posted comments base on race. Libya has played a prominent role in the Junubien struggle against North. It was Libya who supplied you first with weapons to establish SPLA, and it was Libya who first came out from Arabs countries by saying that Southern Sudan should have it referendum. It is Libya who is helping Darfur liberation movements now. So do not hate because this or that country is Arabs. We must win Arabs and Africans world as well. Stop the hatred and move forward with vision that will interest Southern Sudan.

      Kumi,

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