Banking Services: FG Directs MTN, Others To Suspend N4 Charge On USSD Access

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The Federal Government has asked MTN Nigeria and other mobile operators to suspend the four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services.

The directive was issued by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami, on Sunday after a twitter user, Mustapha Hadi, tweeted at Pantami, requesting he acts on the claim.

MTN had sent a message to its mobile customers that with effect from October 21, 2019, N4 will be charged on every 20 seconds spent while using USSD access to banking services.

“Yello, Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”

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Dr. Pantami, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman, asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that the operator suspends such plans until he is fully briefed.

“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.

“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.”

 

Airtel’s Listing On NSE Postponed

 

 

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has announced the postponement of the earlier planned Cross-Border secondary listing of 3.758bn ordinary shares of Airtel Africa plc from the scheduled date of Friday, July 5, 2019.

According to a statement from NSE, the postponement was necessitated by the need to ensure that Airtel Africa meets all the post-NSE approval pre-requisites for listing on the local stock market.

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“The Nigerian Stock Exchange announced that the planned Cross Border Secondary Listing of 3,758,151,504 ordinary shares of Airtel Africa Plc. (Company) has been postponed from the scheduled date of Friday, July 5, 2019.

“This postponement was necessitated by the need to ensure that the Company meets all the post NSE approval pre-requisites for listing on the NSE. However, the Facts Before the Listing event will hold as planned at 11.00 a.m. on Friday, July 5, 2019.”

The exchange did not specify a new listing date for Airtel but said the NSE will provide further communications on the issue when all the conditions for the listing in its market have been met.”

The telecommunications company planned to list at least 500 million shares on the Nigeria Stock Exchange with an initial offer of N363 per unit, becoming the second after MTN Nigeria listed 20 billion ordinary shares at N90 per unit

Alleged $10bn Sanctions: MTN Set To Settle With Nigeria Out Of Court

MTN Reacts To CBN Sanction, Insists Paid Dividends Were Approved

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till December 12 for a report of settlement in the suit filed by telecoms giant, MTN challenging the fine imposed on it by the Federal government of Nigeria.

Justice Saliu Saidu fixed the date after parties in the suit informed him of their intention to settle the matter out of court.

The Federal Government had reportedly asked MTN Nigeria to pay $2 billion in tax arrears. This is in addition to another $8.13billion said to have been illegally repatriated outside Nigeria.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun who represented MTN informed the court of the intention of parties to explore out of court settlement.

Olanipekun then asked for an adjournment to allow parties to meet and deliberate on the terms of settlement.

Counsel to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Seyi Sowemimo SAN confirmed the development and urged the court to grant a short adjournment for report of settlement especially as talks had reached an advanced stage.

Justice Saidu subsequently adjourned to the 12th of December.

MTN Seeks Court Injunction Against CBN, AGF

MTN Reacts To CBN Sanction, Insists Paid Dividends Were Approved

 

MTN Nigeria has sought an injunction from the Federal High Court restraining the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from taking further action against the company over allegations of illegal funds repatriation, among others.

In a statement on Monday, the telecommunications company reiterated that the allegations were false and that it had decided to head to court in order to protect the company’s assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law.

“In order to protect MTN Nigeria’s assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law, we have applied today in the Federal High Court of Nigeria for injunctive relief restraining the CBN and the AGF from taking further action in respect of their orders, while we continue to engage with the relevant authorities on these matters”.

The CBN had alleged improper dividend repatriations by MTN Nigeria and requested that $8.1 billion be returned “to the coffers of the CBN”.

The AGF, on the other hand, alleged unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports of up to $2 billion and asked that the taxes be paid back to the Federal Government.

Read Also: FG Asks MTN To Pay Tax Arrears Of $2bn

However, in a statement on Tuesday (September 4), MTN rejected the claims, stating that it had fully settled all amounts it owed the government under the taxes in question.

Furthermore, in a statement on Monday (September 10), the company said, “The simple reality is that MTN Nigeria has never repatriated dividends on the CCIs referenced by the CBN and that MTN is fully compliant with Nigerian tax law.

“With situations like this, it is vital for both the government, regulators and the company to have absolute clarity on the nature of both the allegations being made and the processes that are being followed.

“In the absence of this clarity, our only option is to seek judicial intervention and to ask the courts to act as adjudicator. This has been done today.”

MTN Nigeria Signs N200bn Loan Deal With 12 Banks

 

Telecommunications Company MTN Nigeria on Wednesday signed a N200bn loan deal with 12 banks in the country.

The loan comes with a two-year moratorium and a five-year repayment plan.

The medium-term loan is expected to help the telecommunications giant facilitate the expansion of its operations, especially in the rural areas.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission has given MTN Nigeria May 29, 2019, as the deadline to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as part of the agreement for the N330 billion fine settlement.

MTN Rewards Nhleko For Negotiating Reduced Fine With NCC

Bayelsa NSCDC Uncovers Plot To Attack MTNAfrica’s largest telecommunication company, the MTN group, has rewarded its Executive Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, with 5.6 million dollars in pay and bonuses for negotiating a reduced fine with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

Mr Nhleko also rejigged MTN group’s senior management team after taking over on short notice, following Former Chief, Sififo Dabengw’s resignation in November 2015.

The report also listed Mr Nhleko’s achievements to include the repatriation of funds from Iran and the review of corporate governance standards, among others.

The telecom giant was said to have allegedly transferred 13.92 billion dollars out of Nigeria through its bankers between 2006 and 2016.

The transaction was purportedly facilitated by four commercial banks in the country.

After much negotiation and renegotiation, MTN Nigeria 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.

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.

Senate Reveals New Fine Proposal Between MTN And FG

MTNThe Senate Committee on Communications has revealed an ongoing N300 billion proposal between MTN and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over the N780 billion fine imposed on the network by Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

At an investigative hearing in the National Assembly, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, produced a proposal by MTN where the network provider insisted that it could only pay the total of N300 billion out of the N780 billion fine imposed.

The breakdown of the proposal, which was forwarded to the ministers of communications and finance by the solicitor-general as well as NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Dambatta, consists of a N50 billion already paid by MTN into a recovery account of the Central Bank of Nigeria in good faith and another N100 billion to be paid via electronic transfer between December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2020.

The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, expressed concern that the Attorney General of the Federation and the Presidency kept NCC and the Minister of Communications in the dark in the negotiations with MTN over the fine.

 

MTN Denies Plan To List On NSE

MTNSouth African telecoms giant, MTN Group, says it has no plans to list its Nigerian unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

This is coming against the backdrop of expectations that MTN Nigeria would get listed on the NSE once it resolves the disputed 780 billion naira fine with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In a statement issued by the telecom giant’s Corporate Affairs Executive, Chris Maroleng, the group described the reports as untrue.

Mr Maroleng further stated that the listing of MTN Nigeria remains a consideration and not a planned listing, as suggested in some of the media reports

Reports had suggested that the only thing stopping the group from listing in Nigeria was the 780 billion Naira penalty imposed on it for failing to comply with directives from the NCC to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered sim cards, and was planning to list as soon as the matter was resolved.

We Have Paid N50 Billion To NCC – MTN

MTNMTN Group appears to have paid about N50 billion out of the N780 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). 

The company, in a statement, explained that the payment was made “on the basis that this will be applied toward a settlement, where one is eventually, hopefully arrived at.

MTN also agreed to withdraw the matter from the High Court in Lagos to achieve an “amicable settlement.

“In renewed steps towards a negotiated settlement and to create a conducive atmosphere for further negotiations, MTN Nigeria today withdrew its case against the NCC at the Federal High Court of Lagos in response to a request by the authorities.

“MTN Nigeria has paid N50 Billion to the Federal Government as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution”, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Communications, Mr Victor Oluwadamilare, in a telephone interview, said the ministry cannot ascertain the claimed payment from MTN Nigeria.

The company’s stock has declined 31 percent since the fine originally set at $5.2 billion was made public in October last year.

The NCC had imposed a N1.04 Trillion fine on MTN Nigeria in October 2015, for its failure to disconnect 5.1 Million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.

The fine was adjusted by 25% to N780 billion, an amount that was considered inimical to the survival of the business.