Econet’s Kwese broadcasting company buys Ugandan troubled TV company

Zimbabwean telecoms pioneer Strive Masiyiwa

The curtain has fallen on Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS) television, seven months after the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) placed it under receivership.

By JULIUS BARIGABA

URA was demanding $2 million Ush7 billion tax arrears.

The industry regulator – the Uganda Communications Commission and the Uganda Broadcasting Council – have consented to the takeover by Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, ending WBS’s nearly two decades of ownership of Ugandan entrepreneur Gordon Wavamunno.

A public notice

The receiver of the TV Company, Mr Kabiito Karamagi, who had given the broadcaster up to one year to turn it around, sent out a public notice on Wednesday that put paid to the homegrown brand, which was the third privately owned TV broadcasting firm to hit the air waves in Uganda in the late 1990s.

“It had been hoped initially that the company would be revamped through the employment of the various turnaround strategies that would restore the company to solvency and recover all the taxes due.

“Unfortunately, this option proved unviable on account of lack of capital to meet urgent needs necessary for the turnaround strategies. As a result, the only option available was to sell the company’s assets to realise the monies due,” Mr Karamagi wrote.

Other entities

Mr Karamagi, who is a lawyer and an insolvency law expert, said that WBS required capital injection of at least $566,881 (Ush2 billion) to turn it around.

Besides all 90 employees of the company who have been terminated, there were other entities in the market – especially the company’s creditors and suppliers – counting their losses following the sale of WBS.

“As a result of this development, WBS Limited will cease to operate as a public broadcaster on 14th December 2016 in line with the undertakings made to the industry regulator…Therefore I regret that all the company’s existing contracts will have to be terminated by that date,” the receiver wrote. – The East African

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