Economic crisis prompts MTN South Sudan to cut jobs, scrap scratchcards

Telecoms

MTN South Sudan, the local mobile unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has decided to limit the distribution of scratchcards in favour of electronic airtime top-ups, in a bid to help mitigate operational difficulties caused by the country’s economic crisis. Bloomberg quotes Khumbulani Dhlomo, the cellco’s head of corporate services, as saying that MTN will also reduce the workforce by 54 people – reducing the total to just 82 employees – amid surging inflation and the collapse of the local currency.

‘We have made losses since we started operating in 2011,’ the executive said in an interview in the capital Juba, adding: ‘We have scaled down the staff and I think the organisation will function now.’ MTN, which reported 1.13 million South Sudanese subscribers at end-March 2016, is now encouraging local traders to purchase their airtime from MTN via bank transfers and sell to customers electronically, eliminating the need to import and then distribute scratchcards, Dhlomo said.

The company’s CEO Philip Besiimire, meanwhile, was quoted as saying that MTN is trying to ensure it continues operating by positioning itself as ‘lean and efficient until the situation changes’.
Source: Telegeography 9 June 2016