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Vivacell in talks with S. Sudan authorities after closure

March 29, 2018 (JUBA) – The President of the Lebanese-based telecom operator (Vivacell), Pierre Fattouch is in South Sudan for talks with government, a day after authorities shut down the company.

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Chairman of Vivacell mobile network, Pierre Fattouch (Photo by John Agou)

Fattouch is seeking to end a dispute with the Juba government over the $60 million tax the mobile operator reportedly owes government.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) said Vivacell failed to pay over $60 million taxes since its inception, prompting its closure.

The Director-General of the regulatory body, Lado Wani Kenyi said they made some progress in the talks, but gave no details.

In a statement issued last week, the mobile operator, said it was working with the country’s authorities to resolve the current impasse.

“We are expeditiously working with the relevant authorities to have the matter resolved and we are confident that our operations shall continue across the country,” Vivacell said in a 21 March statement.

Owned by the Lebanon-based Fattouch Investment Group, Vivacell launched its Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) network in February 2009. By early 2011, however, the mobile operator said it had achieved network coverage in all South Sudan’s 10 state capitals, and along main roads from Juba to Yei and Bor.

South Sudan currently has two other mobile phone operators, MTN and Zain, with reportedly less than 4 million subscribers.

(ST)

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