Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu in an interview with Guardian Newspaper in Lagos at the weekend revealed that the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari has saved the leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria from going bankrupt.
If you recall, MTN Nigeria had been imposed a fine of N780 billion naira by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered mobile lines by the company.
However, after negotiations and intervention by President Buhari, the commission reduced the fine to N333 billion. The fine will now be paid over a period of six years.
Shittu told The Guardian newspaper said that if the government had ensure strict enforcement of the initial fine, it would have crippled the company, leading to loss of jobs, investments and unpleasant consequences for the Nigerian economy.
According to Shittu: “President Buhari saved MTN from bankruptcy, because of his intervention in reducing drastically the hefty fine imposed on the telecom giant. “If as telecommunication operators, there are laws that forbids you from selling GSM lines without registering them and there are also rules that proclaim certain amount as fines for doing so (in this case, N200, 000 per each unregistered line) and you still go ahead to sell millions of lines after the fact, you should be ready to face the music. “It is true that Nigerians have bought MTN shares, a lot of Nigerians are employed by MTN and that a lot of people might suffer due to the loss posted last week by the company because of the fine. It however, doesn’t mean we have to tolerate their negligence.”
He then advice companies operating in the telecommunications sector to show commitment and abide by the rules put in place by government. Meanwhile, MTN has announced that it will ensure the listing of its shares in the Nigerian Stock Exchange. “The relationship between MTN, the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Communications Commission has been restored and strengthened,” Phuthuma Nhleko, Chairman of MTN group said before he resigned just after negotiations.
Source: Naij, The Guardian