MTN has paid a total of N165 billion ($457.7 million) from the N330 billion ($915.4 million) fine slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015 for failing to register its subscribers after several warnings. This announcement comes after it made a payment of N55 billion ($152.6 million) in March.
‘’I am happy to inform you that our agreement with MTN on how and when to pay the fine has been adhered to,” said Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC. “Just last month, March, we received a cheque of N55 billion from MTN as part of the fine payment plan. This brings the total fine paid by MTN Nigeria to N165 billion, that is, more than half of the total fine.’’
Danbatta made these comments when the MTN Nigeria delegation, led by its Chairman, Dr Pascal Dozie, visited the NCC’s Headquarters in Abuja. It would be recalled that in 2016, MTN Nigeria settled with NCC to reduce the fine of N1.04 trillion to N330 Billion. The punitive fine was imposed because of the company’s failure to disconnect subscribers who were not adequately registered despite numerous warnings by the regulatory body urging its compliance.
After much deliberation, the fine was significantly reduced with terms mandating the company list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and offer a formal apology to the government and the citizens within a month of the execution of the agreement.
When the agreement was reached, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, remarked that the settlement was in order to encourage investment in the country.
As a result of this fine by Nigeria, MTN’s biggest market, it recorded a loss of 445 cents per share in 2016, but in 2017 it recorded an increase in its profit. MTN is also expected to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange this year.
While speaking during the visit, the chairman of MTN Nigeria appealed to NCC to auction more spectrums to further open up the ICT space and improve the country’s economy.
He also lauded the management team of NCC for its pragmatic approach to the development of the industry, noting that auctioning more spectrums is the way to go considering the vast opportunities it would create for the country.