Two of Malawi’s mobile companies, Airtel and TNM have announced their profits and dividends to their shareholders with Airtel externalizing about K23 billion while TNM will be investing in rural masses.
Airtel made a whopping K32 billion in profits for last year and will pay its shareholders K23 billion, the biggest chunk of it going to the majority shareholder Bharti Airtel with 80% shareholding while a paltry 20% is held by local shareholders.
On the other hand, TNM made a profit of K7.7 billion after tax, a decline by 41% from the previous year of K13.2 billion and declared a dividend of K4 billion to its shareholders. All TNM shareholders are local with conglomerate Press Corporation plc holding the majority shareholding of 41.31%.
While Airtel will be externalizing the profits through the dividends, TNM plc plans to continue investing the money in the country through its newly launched ‘Mudzi Wathu’ initiative which the company will give back to the communities for development totaling to almost K1 billion of the accruing annual revenue.
An economic analyst who did not want to be named said the country needs to review shareholding of multi-national companies in relation to externalization of money meant for development of the country.
“We need to come up with a deliberate policy on the shareholding of these multi-national companies. For example, 20 % local shareholding in Airtel Malawi is too little. Look at the profits that Airtel has made, they will externalize 80% of the K23 billion profit through payment of dividends, it is Malawi that will suffer in the end. ” he said.
“Look what TNM has done. It is using the profits made by investing in rural communities for development projects; now imagine if the money that Airtel was going to externalize was used for local development in rural areas, this country would be developed. It is time we stand up and fight for our resources,” he added.