Published On: Fri, Mar 7th, 2014

Leonora: ‘Don’t sell Uniqa yet’

UTS_logoWILLEMSTAD - According to the Member of Parliament for the Pueblo Soberano (PS), Sherwin Leonora, this is not the right time to sell the Surinamese joint venture company of UTS, Uniqa. In a press release Leonora says that there are plenty of problems with the intentions of the board of the parent company in Curaçao to get rid of the subsidiary company. However, coalition partner and MP for Pais, Eugène Cleopa disagrees with Leonora.

Uniqa is a mobile-telecom company in Suriname. The local telecom company, United Telecommunication Services (UTS) bought shares in this company in 2007. Despite millions in investment in the Surinamese joint venture, the company never climbed out of the red number. Since last year, the UTS leadership has been actively trying to sell Uniqa.

Companies were allowed to register and there were two interested, which had announced their intentions to take over Uniqa. But Leonora has been questioning the whole business in Suriname. He points to the fact that the government has asked to withdraw because of the many austerity measures taken. In that regard, according to the PS member, funds from public enterprises should be handled in a responsible way.

The PS member mentions, in this context, a number of developments that are currently taking place in Suriname concerning Uniqa. At the moment there is a survey being conducted at Uniqa which indicates that the company is suffering major losses. Also, the company’s bank account was seized by a former employee, whose contract was terminated prematurely. The Surinamese government has also indicated that UTS cannot decide unilaterally to sell Uniqa. The government has ordered an investigation into this matter.

Given all these developments, according to the PS member, there should be clarity on the affairs of Uniqa before the company can be sold. As long as things are not clear, UTS cannot sell, emphasizes Leonora.

MP for PAIS, Cleopa does not agree with the statement of his fellow MP. Cleopa indicates that Uniqa was intended to generate additional income for the parent company in Curacao. But what we see now is that UTS has to make great sacrifices in Curacao just to cover Suriname’s losses.

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