MTN Nigeria: ‘Telecom company has paid N80bn of N330bn fine’ – Adebayo Shittu
The NCC had initially fined MTN $5.2 billion before reducing it, after a series of lawsuits, counter lawsuits, and lobbying by MTN.
The Federal Government has announced that South Africa-based telecom company MTN Nigeria has paid N80 billion out of a N330 billion fine.
The fine was levelled against it by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to deactivate five million unregistered SIM cards.
The announcement was made by Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications.
“For the first year, they paid N80bn, after paying the initial N50bn, and they will have to pay for three years until they will complete the N330bn.
“MTN does not have a choice, when the law was made, it said for every unregistered SIM card in use, the fine is N200, 000, the law never anticipated that one company will be in violation to the tune of millions of lines.
“It was inconceivable, so when the thing was added 200,000 times 5.2 million lines, it came to a trillion plus,"said Shittu.
The NCC had initially fined MTN $5.2 billion before reducing it, after a series of lawsuits, counter lawsuits, and lobbying by MTN, to $3.2 billion and a condition that the South Africa-based telecom giant list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
“When it happened, the MTN did four things; one they accepted that they were in default, two, they apologised for that and three they committed themselves never to allow such a thing to happen and number four, they asked for remission.
“We also knew that we invited the international community to come and invest and anything that will be done which will shake the confidence of international investors in Nigerian economy, we must avoid it.
“Consequently, we must not throw away the baby with the bath water, if they had packed up and left, let us assume all their staff are not more than 5, 000, it means all of those 5,000 will lose their jobs,"the Minister added.
MTN had initially made a N50 billion payment into the coffers of the Federal Government, as part of the stipulated conditions, and begun the process to list on the stock exchange by mid-2017.