Senate To Investigate Loans By ‘Etisalat’

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The Senate is planning to vote on a motion to investigate the use of 1.2 billion dollars in loans taken out by 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria.

If passed, the motion would mandate the Senate Committee on Banking and National Security to handle the investigation.

According to the lawmakers, the investigation would seek to forestall the impact of the debt crisis on foreign investment and hold defaulting parties liable.

There are reports that some 16 firms have submitted their expressions of interest to take over the company including Africa’s largest telco MTN, Ntel and privately held BUA group.

NCC Approves Etisalat’s Name Change To 9mobile

NCCThe Nigeria Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has approved Etisalat Nigeria’s name change to 9mobile, after its United Arab Emirates parent company pulled out of its brand name and shares, over the Nigerian unit’s multi-million-dollar debt to a consortium of 13 local banks.

The telecoms regulator says the move is to ensure the continuity of Nigeria’s fourth largest telecom operator, adding that Etisalat Nigeria has started the process of re-branding.

The NCC must approve a transfer of telecoms licenses or any new investor in a telecoms company with more than 10 percent of the shares. Under local telecoms laws.

Etisalat Nigeria is expected to unveil the new corporate brand today.

Etisalat Changes Name To 9mobile

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

Telecoms operator, Etisalat Nigeria has officially changed the company’s corporate identity to 9mobile.

This comes after the company’s largest shareholder, emirates Telecommunications Corporation, directed Etisalat Nigeria to stop using its brand name within the next three weeks, after terminating management agreement with its Nigerian arm.

Etisalat, which controls 13 per cent market share in Nigeria, has had a running battle with a consortium of 13 banks since March, after it notified them of its inability to service its 1.2 billion dollar debt in February due to the foreign exchange challenges in the country.

In the meantime, Etisalat Nigeria has however, assured Nigerians that its operations are ongoing without any hindrance.

Etisalat Exits Nigeria, Wants Brand Name Phased Out After Three Weeks

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

The Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, has pulled out of Nigeria and demanded that the use of its brand be phased out after three weeks.

The Abu Dhabi-based company decided to exit the country after talks between Etisalat Nigeria and a group of banks over the restructuring of a $1.2bn loan failed.

Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat International, Mr Hatem Dowidar, told Reuters that the company had terminated its management agreement with Etisalat Nigeria.

He, however, said talks were ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria to provide technical support and that its brand can be used for another three weeks before it is phased out.

READ ALSO: CBN Appoints New Chair For Etisalat Nigeria

In June, after the Etisalat Group informed the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange of the failure of Etisalat Nigeria to reach an agreement on the restructuring of the deal, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission and officials of the telco met on June 21 to resolve the debt crisis.

Nine days later, on June 30, Mr Hakeem Bello Osagie resigned as the Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria following the approval of a restructuring plan for the company.

 

Etisalat Gives Timeline To Resolve Multi-million Dollar Debt

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatThe new team of Etisalat Nigeria Managers has given a timeline of between three to six months, to resolve the lingering multi-million-dollar debt of the telecom company to 13 Nigerian banks and restructure the firm under new owners.

This is the latest in a series of efforts by Nigerian shareholders of Etisalat to save the telco from collapsing or total takeover by creditor commercial banks.

On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) appointed a Deputy Governor, Dr Joseph Nnanna as Etisalat’s new chairman, Boye Olusanya was brought to the table as CEO, while the Chief Financial officer is Funke Ighodaro.

This is the first time the CBN is sending one of its top officials as chairman into a non-financial institution in which a business deal between creditors and debtors had gone sour.

Etisalat Debt Will Have ‘Manageable Impact’ On Nigerian Banks – Exotix Capital

London-based investment banking services firm, Exotix Capital has released a new report that says the $1.2 billion Etisalat Nigeria debt burden will havemanageable impact” on the 13 Nigerian banks involved.

The analysts estimate a minus 12 percent impact on the lenders’ net profit in the 2017 financial year, a negative two percent impact on their equity and, a modest 0.3 percent hit on their capital adequacy ratio.

The report says a bailout of Etisalat Nigeria by the Central Bank and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria is unlikely.

Among the group of banks involved in the Etisalat loan crisis, the biggest contributors are Zenith Bank with N80 billion, GTBank with N42 billion and Access Bank with N40 billion.

The lowest amount of loan in the consortium was FCMB at N4.5 billion.

NCC, CBN Intervene In Etisalat Debt Crisis

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatA meeting between the officials of Etisalat Nigeria, Nigerian Communications Commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria and a consortium of banks has reportedly been scheduled for tomorrow, June the 21, to find a resolution to the debt crisis troubling the telecoms company.

Competent sources told Channels Television today that several meetings are ongoing at the NCC and the CBN after talks between about 10 Nigerian banks and Etisalat Nigeria broke down.

The sources confirmed that part of the $1.2billion bank credit obtained by Etisalat Nigeria has been paid back since 2013 when the loans were first structured.

The three parties are also expected to issue a joint statement on the matter tomorrow.

Earlier today, the Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, informed the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange that a group of Nigerian commercial banks refused to agree to the restructuring of the debt (which amounts to 541 billion naira) owed by the company.

The telecoms group said in a statement that its total shares in Etisalat Nigeria have been transferred to United Capital Trustees Limited.

The deadline for the transfer of the shares has been agreed to extend till 5:00 pm Nigerian time on Friday, June 23.

Abu-Dhabi based Etisalat group established Etisalat Nigeria with effective 45 per cent and 25 per cent ordinary and preference shares respectively.

Reuters quoted an official of Etisalat Nigeria as saying that discussions with the group of Nigerian commercial lenders are ongoing to find a ”non-disruptive” solution to the debt.

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have succeeded in halting an attempt by Etisalat’s creditors to take over the company.

A statement by the spokesman for NCC, Tony Ojobo, said reprieve came for the mobile network operator during a meeting held on Friday.

According to the statement, receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive.

“The meeting, which held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

“The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

“CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear that everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

“Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while the consortium of banks meet their obligations to their customers, a meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward.

“The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon,” the statement read.

Failed Data Tariff Increment Decision Was To Protect Consumers – NCC‎

Failed Data Tariff Increment Decision Was To Protect Consumers – NCC‎The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday said that the suspended earlier plan by the commission to increase data tariff charges by telecom operators was to protect consumers and new telecom operators.

NCC Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Ismail Adedigba, made this known in Osogbo while answering questions from journalists at the 81st edition of the commission’s “Consumer Outreach Programme.’’

According to Adedigba, the decision to increase data was to avoid running into monopoly whereby only one service provider will enjoy the sole right of charging consumer any price for data services.

He said: “We don’t want to run into monopoly, because if you allow anybody to charge any price, some big operators can charge lower price today and get all the customers to their network at the expense of new entrants.

“Once these big operators know that the new entrants have failed, they could not provide service because it is not profitable, they will now keep increasing their own price, knowing there is no competition.

“The consumers will now have no alternative to choose from when the tariff is now increased, as the new entrants must have been crippled and left the market for the big operators.’’

He said it was better to have competition than have one segment of the telecom market killed due to predatory pricing, which necessitated the need for data tariff price regulation.

Adedigba said that the data tariff price increment remained suspended for now, due to the outcry of stakeholders, especially the consumers.

He said the commission would however continue to keep engaging the people to really know that the action of the NCC and what the commission is doing is to actually protect the consumers and the telecom industry.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the NCC Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mr Abdullah Maikano, said that the consumer outreach programme of the commission was to bring together telecom consumers in urban areas with network operators.

Maikano said such togetherness was to discuss, proffer solutions to consumer related issues and ensure value for money through effective service delivery.

He said the theme of the programme “Information and Education as a Catalyst for Consumer Protection,’’ was chosen to reflect one of the cardinal objectives of the commission of ensuring that telecom consumers are protected from market exploitation.

The director said that it was also to empower consumers to make rational decision when making their choices of services that would provide them with value for their money.

He said any telecom subscriber that is having unresolved issues with his or her telecom service provider can report to the NCC on a toll free number-622 or through their Twitter and other social media platforms.

Major telecom service operators in the country were on ground answering and preferring solutions to the problems of their service subscribers.

Data Price Hike: NCC, Telecom Companies Address Senate

Senate, NCC on Data priceRegulatory agency, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), is engaging with telecommunication companies to determine a data pricing system which would benefit customers and operators.

This assurance is coming after a public outcry that greeted announcements from telecom operators that effective from December 1 this year, consumers would begin to pay more for data.

However, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, says the agency did not at any time instruct telecommunication companies in Nigeria to hike data price.

Mr Danbatta gave the NCC’s position while addressing members of the Senate Committee on Communications on Tuesday.

Top on their list of  issues to discuss was the recent public outcry that greeted the canceled plan to hike the price of data for consumers.

He, however, told the Senators that the commission was trying to protect Nigerians from an unhealthy price war between telecom operators.

Contributing, the Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat, Matthew willsher, told the lawmakers that the company was willing to comply with the position of the NCC, but the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdinand Moolman, asked for a proper cost and price analysis which should factor the current inflation in the country as well as the devaluation of the Naira.

Mr Moolman said: “All of us aware that inflation is going up to 17 to 18 per cent, we have experienced price increase in all other sectors yet we have seen price drop in the telecoms sector in the last two or three years and you have heard this said by a number of speakers”.

Responding to the statements by the telecommunication companies, the NCC Executive Vice Chairman said the Commission would continue to engage with the operators and would do a scientific study to determine the correct pricing for data.

He concludes that the commission is looking at a new price which would benefit both customers and telecom operators, but the telecom operators are asking that this scientific study for proper pricing should be done as quickly as possible so as not to leave operators in limbo.

NCC Suspends Plan To Increase Data Price 

NCC Suspends Plan To Increase Data Price The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has suspended its directive to telecommunication operators to increase the price of Data.

This is coming shortly after the Senate had asked the NCC to stop the planned data price increase until all parties meet to resolve the outstanding issues.

The National Assembly on Wednesday, directed its committee on communication to meet with the service providers and get back to them.

The NCC had mandated the five big telecommunication operators in the country, to increase their data tariffs beginning from Thursday, December 1, 2016.

In a statement by the commission’s Public Affairs Director, Tony Ojobo, stated that:

“The decision to suspend this directive was taken after due consultation with industry stakeholders and the general complaints by Consumers across the country.

“The Commission has weighed all of this and consequently asked all operators to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of study to determine retail prices for broadband and data services in Nigeria.

According to him, “the decision to have a price floor was primarily to promote a level playing field for all operators in the industry, encourage small operators and new entrants.

NCC Suspends Plan To Increase Data Price 

“The price floor in 2014 was N3.11k/MB but was removed in 2015. The price floor that was supposed to flag off on December 1, 2016 was N0.90k/MB.

“In taking that decision, the smaller operators were exempted from the new price regime, by virtue of their small market share.

“The decision on the price floor was taken in order to protect the consumers who are at the receiving end and save the smaller operators from predatory services that are likely to suffocate them and push them into extinction.

The statement therefore clarified that “the price floor is not an increase in price but a regulatory safeguard, put in place by the telecommunications regulator to check anti-competitive practices by dominant operators.

Furthermore, it cleared the air on the insinuation in some quarters that the regulator has fixed prices for data services.

“This is not true because the NCC does not fix prices but provides regulatory guidelines to protect the consumers, deepen investments and safeguard the industry from imminent collapse.

“Before the new suspended price floor of N0.90k/MB, the industry average for dominant operators including MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, EMTS Limited (Etisalat) and Airtel Nigeria Limited was N0.53k/MB.

“Etisalat offered (N0.94k/MB), Airtel (N0.52k/MB), MTN (N0.45k/MB) and Globacom (N0.21k/MB).

The smaller operators/ new entrants charge the following: Smile Communications N0.84k/MB, Spectranet N0.58k /MB and NATCOMS (NTEL) N0.72k/MB.

“The NCC as a responsive agency of government takes into consideration the feelings of the consumers and so decided to suspend the new price floor,” the statement read.

The suspension of the directive, has indeed allayed the fears of many Nigerians, who already anticipated the move from Thursday, in the face of an already harsh economic situation.

NCC Addresses Telecommunication Consumer Issues In Plateau

NCC, Telecommunication Consumers,Plateau The Nigerian Telecommunications Commission, organized a meeting seeking to educate and address some telecommunication issues regarding service consumers.

Consumers of telecommunication services are demanding better services, value for money spent, timely and fair redress of complaints, as well as protection from unwholesome practices of some service providers.

These were some of the demands of the attendees at the 21st edition of the Consumer Town-Hall Meeting.

Represented at the forum were Network operators and deregulators, who were proffering solutions to consumer related issues, in order to ensure they have value for their money.

Representative of the Initiative for the Support of Consumer Rights, Abayomi Olawoyin, speaking on behalf of the consumers, said consumer education is key to consumer satisfaction and urged service providers to avoid giving information that is ambiguous to their consumers.

Some service consumers had the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction.

According to one of them, “consumers are charged arbitrarily for automated text messages that are not consciously subscribed for”.

Undue charges for services, both subscribed and unsubscribed for, was one of the major issues highlighted.

It is expected that with meetings such as these, service providers would be challenged to live up to consumer expectations.

And if recommendations are properly implemented, the NCC, Telecoms consumers, and service providers, may just begin to see a more impactful sector, that will also help the nation come out of its economic recession.