The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some commercial banks in the country over the unpaid loans issue they have with Etisalat Nigeria.
A top NCC official said in an interview in Abuja yesterday that the commission would not fold its arms and allow any bank to take over the telecom company because of the effect that could have on the industry.
The official, who pleaded anonymity because the parties involved in the negotiation have not given the nod to go public with the issue, said the NCC would soon summon the Etisalat top management to update the commission on how far it has gone on the debt issue.
He said: “We are the regulator of the industry. As part of our duties and mandates, we liaise with other regulators and other government agencies on behalf of our industry on the issue affecting any of the players in our industry.
“We do this always, and on this issue we are on it; we have met with the parties involved and we are still meeting with them. We are trying to prevent any ugly occurrence in the industry. We wouldn’t allow a telco with about 23 million subscribers to leave them out in the cold.”
He disclosed that NCC would hear from Etisalat to know what exactly to do on the matter.
The spokesperson of Etisalat, Oluseyi Osundedo confirmed last night that the telco was in discussion with the banks and “our discussion had reached an advanced stage. There is no cause for alarm.”
She blamed the telco inability to pay the debt back on time on the current economic downturn and lack of access to forex.