On Thursday 15 February 2018, Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), revealed that MTN Nigeria still needed to pay USD $609,451 million (N220 billion) into the coffers of the federal government to settle the USD $914 million (N330 billion) fine imposed on the telecoms group for not disconnecting unregistered SIM cards. This is according to a report by Nigerian Communications Week.
The NCC confirmed that the telecom giant has paid a total of USD $304 million (N110 billion) out of the record fine. Danbatta revealed this at a workshop on Code of Corporate Governance organised by the commission in Kano.
MTN Nigeria was originally fined USD $2.8 billion (N1.04 trillion) in October 2015 for failing to deactivate more than 5 million unregistered SIM cards. The fine was later reduced to N330 billion after prolonged negotiation with both the regulatory agency and the federal government.
The settlement also paved the way for MTN to list its subsidiary on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Danbatta said on Thursday that the matter had been resolved with an agreement for settlement over a three-year period signed between the agency and MTN.
He said the payment was spread over a three-year period because the intention was not to snuff the life out of MTN.
The NCC boss said, “Current evaluation report of the state of the industry suggests that whilst not understating the impact of other external and fiscal issues confronting the sector, that most challenges negatively affecting the health of operators in the sector today are attributable to poor governance issues.”
“It is currently rejigging its regulatory oversights in the areas of ensuring that consumers get cost-effective value for money spent on telecommunication services; and that service delivery by providers are qualitative and efficient,” he concluded.