After nearly six months of negotiation and re-negotiation over the N1.04Trillion fine imposed on MTN, Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) the fine was yesterday reduced to N330Billion.
This amount includes the “goodwill” payment of N50Billion earlier made by MTN to the government.
The balance of N280Billion will be made in six tranches in the following order. By the terms of agreement, MTN will pay N30Billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10, 2016.
Other dates of payments include:
March 31, 2017 - N30Billion;
March 31, 2018 - N55Billion;
December 31, 2018 - N55Billion;
March 31, 2019 - N55Billion and the balance will be in
May 31, 2019 - N55Billion
The agreement and resolutions were signed by Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar G. Danbatta, NCC Commission Secretary, Mr. Felix Adeoye, Chief Executive of MTN, Fredinand (Fredi) Moolman and MTN’s Company Secretary, Mrs. Uto Ukpanah, and witnessed by Mr. Tony Ojobo, NCC, Director, Public Affairs; Mr. Usman Malah, Chief of Staff to the EVC, NCC; Ms Helen Obi, Assistant Director, Legal, NCC and Ms. Amina Oyagbola, Corporate Executive, MTN.
It was also agreed that MTN shall undertake the followings:
Tender an apology in line with the apology previously tendered in correspondences relating to this matter to the Government of Nigeria and Nigerians within the one month of the execution of this Agreement;
Subscribe to the voluntary observance of the Code of Corporate Governance for the Telecoms Industry and would ensure compulsory compliance when the said Code is made mandatory for the telecommunications industry; and
Undertake to take immediate steps to ensure the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as commercially and legally possible after the date of execution of this Settlement Agreement.
Both parties agreed that these terms of settlement cannot be altered, varied, annulled or modified in any respect, except by writing duly executed by both parties; and the terms of settlement constitute all the terms and conditions of the settlement and supersede and replace any previous offers, representations and terms.
It will be recalled that the NCC on October 20, 2015, imposed a fine of N1.04Trillion on MTN for infraction of the provisions of the Nigerian Communication Commission (Registration of the telephone subscribers) Regulations, 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.1million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.
In arriving at the agreement, the EVC said our decision was taken based on professionalism and global best practices, and in line with the NCC core value “to be fair, firm and forthright”
According to the EVC, the Commission has always carried industry and stakeholders along in taking transparent regulatory actions, adding that at no point will the regulator do anything to jeopardise the business health of the entire sector.
“We were careful not to take decisions that were likely to cripple the business interest of the operators we regulate. Besides, the downturn of the global economy is biting hard on everybody and every sector, so we must therefore be sensitive and flexible in our decisions”
This perhaps is one of the attractions of the global communities to the activities of the Commission through multiple awards recently.
A week ago, the NCC got the European Award for Best Practices by the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR) based in Switzerland. The award ceremony involved over 63 Countries and global business giants like United Air-lines, Cathay Pacific airlines amongst others took place in Brussels, Belgium.
Only two weeks ago, the NCC was named Africa Regulator of the year in Accra, Ghana.
“Africa and global communication investors are excited about the Nigerian telecommunication environment and have made Nigeria investors first choice”, Danbatta explained.