MTN Nigeria to pay N330 billion deal in final fine settlement deal with FG
MTN Nigeria today said it has finally settled with the Federal Government to pay N330 billion in final settlement negotiated for the N1.04 trillion imposed on the mobile phone company for unregistered subscribers.
According to a statement made available to Technology Times today, MTN Nigeria said that , “the company also undertakes to take immediate steps to ensure listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as is commercially and legally-possible.”
Under the terms of the negotiated deal with the Nigerian government ending several months of talks, MTN Nigeria will pay the negotiated N330 billion to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms indutry watchdog that imposed the unprecedented fines in the first place.
Phutuma Nhleko, Chairman MTN Group Executive, who has been assigned to lead a high-profile negotiating team by the South African telecoms giant that owns MTN Nigeria, has thanked the Nigerian government for accepting to a deal on the fine.
Commenting on the final resolution of the NCC fine, Nhleko expressed his thanks to the Nigeria government for the spirit in which the matter was resolved saying ‘ this is the best outcome for the company, it’s stakeholders, the Federal Government and the Nigerian people and the relationship between MTN, the Federal Government and the NCC has been restored and strengthened.’’
Under the terms of the deal, MTN Nigeria and the telecoms regulator, NCC, the mobile phone company says reached an “amicable settlement” on “MTN’s delay in disconnecting 5.1 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.”
MTN said that it will pay the NCC “the sum of N330 billion in full and final settlement of the fine in line with an agreed payment plan.”
In addition to the monetary settlement, MTN Nigeria undertakes to:
– subscribe to the voluntary observance of the Code of Corporate Governance for the Telecommunications Industry and will ensure compulsory compliance. The company also undertakes to take immediate steps to ensure listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as is commercially and legally possible.
– always ensure full compliance of its license terms and conditions as issued by the NCC.
Speaking on the issue, Ferdi Moolman, MTN Nigeria CEO, commented that “MTN Nigeria once again offers its most sincere apologies for the series of unfortunate events that led to the imposition of the fine” Elaborating further, he said, “It was of critical importance to reach a solution that would be of universal benefit to all stakeholders given the importance of the ICT industry in Nigeria and its tremendous impact on socio-economic growth. Along with the authorities, we believe that has been achieved.”
Regarding the company’s undertaking to list, Moolman said “MTN Nigeria is undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s success stories. Broader public participation exemplifies this.”
Government had pruned the initial fine of N1.04 trillion when it was adjusted by 25% to N780 Million.
“MTN Nigeria considered the fine inimical to the sustainability of its business and sought judicial determination in December 2015 to protect the extensive local ecosystem, valued and supported by MTN’s business”, the company said in the statement.
However in February 2016, at the request of the Federal Government, MTN announced the withdrawal of its case against NCC and made an initial “goodwill” payment of N50 billion in order to create a conducive atmosphere for further negotiations.
“This is another manifestation of good faith and intent by MTN Nigeria. We have the equally good intentions of the Nigerian authorities and the strength of our mutual commitment to an amicable resolution. The high priority that the Government is giving to the sustainability of the industry assures us of a truly integrated approach amongst all parties, to the growth of ICT as a critical enabler of socio economic development in Nigeria”, MTN Nigeria CEO said.