Executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Professor Umar Danbatta has disclosed that MTN Nigeria up-to-date has paid 60 per cent of the fine placed on it by the Commission for use of unregistered simcards on its network.
Danbatta who stated this in an interview with leadership said so far, MTN Nigeria had paid N165 billion and would remit another N50 billion in December and the rest of the instalment payments in 2018 in line with the conditions agreed by the two parties.
The NCC had in October 2015 imposed a fine of N1.04tn on MTN for irregular registration of subscribers. However, after prolonged negotiation with both the regulatory agency and the federal government, the company had the fine reduced to N330bn.
Danbatta said the fine had been resolved between the regulatory agency and the telecommunications operator with an agreement for settlement over a three-year period. He added that the payment of the fine was spread over a three-year period because the intention was not to snuff life out of MTN.
He stressed that the money has been remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Account of the federation in line with extant laws. “So far, they have paid 60 per cent of the fine, that is N165 billion. We expect them to make another payment of N55 billion,” he said.
Probed further if MTN relinquish its plan to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Danbatta said should such happen, MTN would have broken the bilateral agreement by both parties. “IF they don’t list on NSE by end of 2019, they will be in breach of the conditions reached for the payment of the fine and it would attract regulatory action,” said the telecom regulator.
In June 2016, MTN Nigeria and the NCC eventually settled the landmark N1.04 trillion fine imposed on the operator for flouting the simcard registration directive with the fine reduced finally to N330 billion. This amount includes the “goodwill” payment of N50b billion earlier made on February 24, 2016 by MTN to the government. By the terms of agreement, MTN would pay N30 billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June while the remaining balance will be discharged as follows: N30 billion on 31 March 2017; N55 billion on 31 March 2018; N55 billion on 31 December 2018; N55 billion on 31 March 2019 and N55 billion on 31 May 2019.