It’s no secret that Airtel is evading tax using foreign ‘experts’


Mr Editor
Please hide my name.
I write in connection to the Airtel article you posted
Every bit of that article is true.

Let me share something with you:

Each financial year India give us a financial target to meet. The interesting thing about this target is that it is almost impossible to achieve to avoid paying their staff bonuses.
An interesting thing is that when it is audit time, they bring in auditors from KPMG India while the same company has an office here in Zambia. Even as i write this, we have auditors from KPMG India doing an audit and i don’t think their colleagues from the Zambian office are aware they are here otherwise they would have been working together

The hidden objective behind outsourcing was to avoid ZRA and Napsa contributions or keep them to a minimum and if expert help is needed, they are shipped in from India. Imagine, we have talent in the company on this beautiful continent and they have to ship someone from Delhi. local. If you are an local expert, you won’t be considered no matter how much you try or even prove you are the best person for the job.
Take time to interview staff working for the firms airtel has outsourced to, you’ll hear a similar story from almost everyone. Experienced staff in these companies are being removed and replaced with inexperienced,cheap staff on part-time basis

Conditions of service:
Airtel is lucky. They have a pool of very experienced professionals but they are being disadvantaged. When projects are underway, they are being controlled by remote control from either the Africa Head Office in Kenya or from the Head Office in India and this frustrates a lot of people especially the project experts.
Everyone is required to set targets for the year which is then tied to company performance. You can meet all your targets but as long as the company doesn’t meet it’s operational target, Airtel will not pay out the annual bonus. This is a trick they have used for the last 2 years. On average the salary increment every got was K200.
It is not a secret Airtel is cooking their books to evade tax and bonus payouts to staff. Look at their operations in India, they are running at a loss and so they need the african operations to make up for the revenue gap so that their books can look healthy in the eyes of the Indian regulator. They have absolutely no respect for Zambians and they certainly don’t respect ZICTA. I wish someone could feel the pain being felt by the employees working there

When we look at the organization structure there are selected positions which are locked up and will only be held by Indians. These are
1. Networks Director
2. Finance Director
3. Chief Commercial Offier
4. Sales and Distribution Director

In marketing there is one manager position (Usage and Retention) which has been held by Indians for more than 2 yrs now and when that person leaves, he is promoted to Marketing Director and sent to another operation. Less than a year ago we had one of our own ladies (name withheld) who was appointed marketing director for Airtel Rwanda. Meanwhile there was an indian by the name of Prasoon who was manager here in Zambia.

Guess what happened? Our dear lady was replaced by the same man as marketing director in Rwanda after he finished his stint in Zambia.

The indian there now by the name of Shishir who does nothing but recycle promotions and launch them to the public. At the end of the day he’s going to be promoted to Marketing director in another Airtel operation.

We have a scenario where we have some IT staff from India who come to Zambia on a vistor’s permit but yet they are working in the building. They leave after 2 months return with another permit and this time operating under a different company name to avoid paying tax to ZRA.

As i write the following is happening:

1) The prepaid billing system being run from India. Anything that needs to be done on it is sent to India and it’s done from there. Airtel had fantastic IN enginners but they have all left for MTN and Zamtel.

2) The sim registration database is a complete mess becuase they got some useless system from India for the exercise even after objections from the local team who had a better and more robust solution developed for the Zambian market.

3) Airtel IT is preparing to migrate all employee mailboxes to India and shut down the exchange servers working here in Zambia.

4) Airtel Money which was the most stable ever built is now showing signs of failure because the Indians running it are always making changes on the system. I don’t think BOZ or even the Airtel Money director or even the MD knows of the changes they are making.
5) Any developer who approaches Airtel with an application is turned away. Anyone in India who develops the same app is given a contract to deploy it across all the operations.

Airtel must undergo a serious audit by a Zambian auditing firm and under no conditions should they allow anyone from India to be part of the audit.

ZRA and NAPSA must send in their troops to look at Aitel’s books and penalize them for tax evasion
The labour ministry must order an end to the outsourcing model at Airtel and order management to integrate all transfered staff back into the system

As a last resort, ZICTA can suspend Airtel’s license to punish them for lying to them and punishing their innocent staff.
I feel for our MD, she’s a good woman but her employers have set eveyone up for failure

I hope someone else will come and speak out as well. We cannot come out in public for fear of loosing our jobs.

All is not well at Airtel House. Employees are angry and the place is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

Airtel Employee


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