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Call for a pragmatic solution

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The High Court in Bulawayo on Friday 29 May 2009 stopped Tel-One from disconnecting its customers as a way of forcing them to pay their bills.

That the bills are unreasonably priced is obvious but it is no secret that the company is broke; having made billions of trillions of worthless Zimbabwean dollars that remain stashed in the banks and cannot be useful to anyone any more, particularly not to Tel-One.

The court’s decision while popular is certainly not a solution. A sound communications facility will be vital in the country’s economic turnaround.

The issue of the company’s capitalization is of national strategic importance. Tel-One must devise strategies for fundraising to get it much needed working capital.

And because its customers knowingly enjoyed a ‘free’ service for a long period when the economy collapsed sometime during the last half of 2008 a compromise has to be reached.

The customers have to pay something to get the company back on its feet. Tel-One might be forced to consider ‘switching of’ its clients and charging a reasonable ‘reconnection fee’ before it can be able to start billing its normal rates.

The arguments raised by its clients might appear factual, but are not honest. The parastatal found it broke, even if everyone claims to have paid their dues.

I hope our collective wish is that we get Tel-One and all the other companies, ZESA, ZBC working again so that information, I mean vital information, that will get this country back on its feet again reaches those who need it most.

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