Africell Here to Stay, Insists Management

There are claims on social media websites that Africell Uganda, the Multinational telecom firm that acquired the Orange Uganda operation in November 2014, is up for grabs.

This takes after the 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 late claims about Africell as “absurd and ridiculous”.

“It is inconceivable that Africell would have to respond to these statements. They are unfounded and undeserving of remark. Africell’s legacy and history justifies itself with real evidence and is focused on operating effectively in Uganda,” he said, adding, “Africell guarantees to give a quality service in Uganda and to be an effective partner in social development in the long term. We are here to say, as we have done in all other countries where we work.”

Outstandingly, Africell acquired Orange Uganda at a time when its viability was basically at danger given the way that it was confronting 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 the Chief Operations Officer, Ghaddar, Africell had to plan and undergo a complete rebuilding process involving the different aspects of the business, among which staff restructuring.
“This recent part (restructuring) involved the termination of 59 workers – 15% of the workforce. This has been painful, yet important as one of the steps to save the company and the 85% that constitute the remaining workforce,” he clarified, adding, “The staff who were terminated were paid their terminal benefits according to the laws of Uganda around the same day of termination. Nonetheless, after the termination was concluded, upon the request of the affected employees, Africell entered into discourses with them to reconcile the different benefit perspectives.”

He included that 50% of the affected employees have signed a final settlement arrangements for their supplementary advantages, while negotiations continue with the rest.

He further clarified that the restructuring additionally included the promotion of some of the existing employees to tackle the obligations of the terminated employees.

“It is additionally vital to specify that since November 2014, Africell has recruited 46 new employees and created more than 600 new indirect employment opportunities in an improved trade distribution system,” he said.