Zimbabwe’s Econet founder opts out as profits surge
HARARE – After tax profits in Econet Wireless spiked, propped up by increased uptake of data and fintech services although founder, Strive Masiyiwa has now opted out of the day-to-day board functions of the company and the fintech unit, which will separately list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on December 11.
Masiyiwa is now assuming the responsibility for strategy and innovation for the two companies. The fintech unit, which includes Steward Bank and EcoCash is being unbundled from the mobile network operations of the company.
“The founding director Strive Masiyiwa has made a decision not to get involved in the Board activities of both Econet and Cassava (the fintech unit). To ensure that both EWZL and CSZL continue to benefit from his distinguished skill and competence Masiyiwa will assume a unique directorship role in both companies,” said Econet in a circular to shareholders on Thursday.
It further stated that Masiyiwa would now be responsible for vision and strategy for both companies.
Econet has since “declared a dividend of 1.158 US cents per share amounting to US$30 million (429 million) for the second quarter ending 31 August 2018” and this brings the “total dividends declared to shareholders to $50 million for the half year” period to the end of August 2018, said board chairman, James Myers on Friday.
Executives at Econet and other large corporates in Zimbabwe such as OK Zimbabwe and Delta Corporation have expressed reservations about a new 2 percent tax on electronic transactions, given that mobile and plastic money platforms have become the dominant payment gateways.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority however said on Thursday that the 2 percent transaction tax, which has sparked court actions and public criticism, would not apply to forex payments into Zimbabwe FCAs and also removed petroleum purchases from payments on which the intermediated tax will be levied.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE