MTN Agrees To Pay FG 330bn Naira

Channels Television  
Updated June 10, 2016

MTN, NCC, FGMTN Nigeria has agreed to pay a reduced fine of 330 billion Naira (about $1.67 billion) to the Federal Government in six installments over the next three years.

The reduction comes nearly after six months of negotiation and re-negotiation over the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on the MTN by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Friday by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo.

The reduced amount included the “goodwill” payment of 50 billion Naira earlier made by MTN to the government in February.

The statement noted that by the terms of agreement reached, the MTN would pay 30 billion Naira into the NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10, 2016.

Other dates of payments include: March 31, 2017 – 30 billion Naira; March 31, 2018 – 55 billion Naira; December 31, 2018 – 55 billion Naira; March 31, 2019 – 55 billion Naira and the balance of 55 billion Naira would be paid in May 31, 2019.

The agreement and resolutions were signed by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, NCC’s Secretary, Mr Felix Adeoye, Chief Executive of MTN, Fredinand Moolman and MTN’s Company Secretary, Mrs Uto Ukpanah.

The signing was witnessed by Mr Ojobo, the Chief of Staff to Professor Danbatta, Mr Usman Malah, the Assistant Director of Legal, NCC, Ms Helen Obi and the Corporate Executive of MTN, Ms Amina Oyagbola.

In October 2015, the South African telecoms operator was penalised for its inability to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers on its network.

With this settlement, the company said it would list its local unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as “commercially and legally possible”.

The NCC statement further read: “It was also agreed that MTN shall tender an apology in line with the apology previously tendered in correspondences relating to this matter to the Government of Nigeria and Nigerians within the one month of the execution of this Agreement; subscribe to the voluntary observance of the Code of Corporate Governance for the Telecoms Industry and would ensure compulsory compliance when the said Code is made mandatory for the telecommunications industry”.

The MTN shall  also take immediate steps to ensure the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as commercially and legally possible after the date of execution of this Settlement Agreement.

Both parties agreed that these terms of settlement could not be altered, varied, annulled or modified in any respect, except by writing duly executed by both parties; and the terms of settlement constitute all the terms and conditions of the settlement and supersede and replace any previous offers, representations and terms.

The NCC on October 20, 2015, imposed a fine of 1.04 trillion Naira on the MTN for infraction of the provisions of the Nigerian Communication Commission (Registration of the telephone subscribers) Regulations, 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.1 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.

In arriving at the agreement, the EVC said: “Our decision was taken based on professionalism and global best practices, and in line with the NCC core value to be fair, firm and forthright”.

According to the EVC, the Commission has always carried industry and stakeholders along in taking transparent regulatory actions, adding that at no point will the regulator do anything to jeopardise the business health of the entire sector.

“We were careful not to take decisions that were likely to cripple the business interest of the operators we regulate. Besides, the downturn of the global economy is biting hard on everybody and every sector, so we must therefore be sensitive and flexible in our decisions,” it said.