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MTN Uganda gives sh7.8b to rural fund

Friday, 22nd July, 2011

KAMPALA, Uganda: MTN Uganda today handed over a contribution of UGX 7.83billion to the Rural Communication Development Fund (RCDF), through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

Receiving the contribution at the UCC offices in Kampala, UCC Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi encouraged all telecommunication service providers to make good on their obligation to contribute towards the RCDF.

“This is a 1% statutory levy on MTNs annual gross income, which is the company’s contribution to developing communications in the rural areas. The levy is determined through a company’s audited and certified books of accounts,” Mutabazi said.

He said the UGX 7.83billion contribution remitted by MTN would support projects in rural areas where communication services are “socially desirable but not economically viable.”

“Since its establishment the RCDF has achieved the set up of a wireless connectivity network in a radius of 5-10 kilometres around district headquarters, the establishment of ICT training centres and Internet Cafes in districts outside of Kampala, and more than 500 government-aided schools have been equipped with ICT laboratories to increase access to and usage of ICT in secondary schools,” he added.

MTN Chief Executive Officer Themba M. Khumalo said his company was proud to be making the contribution to the development of communications in rural communities.
“A large part of our communities in Africa are in rural areas and it is important that they are not left out of this crucial aspect of development. At MTN we are proud that we are consistent in making this contribution, and more importantly, in a timely manner,” he said.

“This is not charity, it is our obligation as a serious corporate citizen, and there is no doubt that this is the largest contribution from any operator. We thank our subscribers for staying loyal to us to enable us to make this contribution to rural communications a reality,” he added.

Khumalo said the contribution to the RCDF came alongside the normal business operations of the company, which focus on spreading communication countrywide through its telecommunications voice and data network.

“We have conducted massive investments on the ground over the years, and we are sure that the single largest investment in telecommunications over the last three to four years has come from MTN Uganda. Beyond investments, we have been doing CSR as part and parcel of our strategy, and we contribute 1% of our profits to the community through the MTN Foundation,” Khumalo added.

The Among other benefits to rural communities under the RCDF are the creation of more than 54 business entrepreneurs in rural Uganda, an increase in the men-to-women ratio of ICT usage to 6:4, an increase in GSM coverage at sub-county level to 100%, the expansion of internet data networks to 78 rural towns in Uganda, and the establishment of computer studies as a curriculum subject at O’ level in rural schools.

About the Uganda Communications Commission
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is the regulator of the communications industry in Uganda promoting the developments in the communications industry; which development is facilitated through universal access to communications services largely delivered through the private sector.

The Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) was established in 2003 as a Universal Service Fund (USF) for communications in accordance with the provisions of the Communications Act of 1997.

About the MTN GROUP

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: "MTN". As at 30 September 2009, MTN recorded 108,4 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

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