By Lynette Fushai
ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) garnished over US$ 6.7 million from TelOne’s bank accounts, jeopardizing the group’s relationship with their local and external suppliers.
Presenting the company’s trading update recently, TelOne managing director Chipo Mutasa said, “We do have creditors which are standing at US$129 million, however, along with the creditors is a debtor’s book which we are trying to liquidate at the moment.
“Our debtors at the moment are in excess of US$150 million; those that we think are collectable. Amongst the debtors are Households as the number one debtor at about US$80 million, corporates and SMESs at around US$40 or so million and the government of Zimbabwe is owing us US$41 million. Unfortunately we did have an offset arrangement with government in the past where we had an acceptance of getting government debtors to be offset against other statutory creditors such as the ZIMRA taxes.
“Unfortunately, there has been a slowdown in this offset arrangement, this has now also resulted in ZIMRA also effecting garnishes on TelOne accounts. So far this year, ZIMRA has collected US$6.7 million,” said Mutasa.
She added that the garnsihes have impacted on the company’s relationship with local and external suppliers as this has seen TelOne failing to adhere to agreed payment plans.
“The issue of Nostro Accounts has contributed to the slowdown in servicing external creditors.
“We are now owing ZIMRA US$ 2.6 million which means we are almost current with ZIMRA, our appeal is that maybe this offset arrangement if that can be maintained because the money which was taken by Z IMRA we would have wanted to apply it to other creditors who could not participate in this offset arrangement so we are thinking that we really need to appeal further so that maybe some kind of leeway can be granted to us.”
Meanwhile, TelOne revenue declined from US$ 59.5million to US$ 49.4 million due to the decline in voice revenue performance which is being counted by the subdued economic activity in the country which have been compounded by a biting liquidity crunch.
However, she said broadband revenue increased by 10 percent.
In operating costs TelOne is still maintaining the 15 percent salary cut which they implemented last year due the economic challenges that the group is facing but if the situation stabilizes bonuses and incentives will be instigated.