Etisalat Nigeria | Banks can’t take over yet, government says

Etisalat Nigeria | Banks can’t take over yet, government says

Etisalat Nigeria | Banks can’t take over yet, government says

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The Federal Government this evening declared that lender banks cannot take over Etisalat Nigeria, the number four mobile phone in the country, without regulatory approval.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again waded in dramatically to warn a group of lender banks that have slated next Friday as the deadline for the final takeover of the Etisalat Nigeria that they have a few regulatory hurdles to cross.

Etisalat of the UAE, which currently holds 45% of Etislat Nigeria announced at the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange this morning that attempts to stave off the company’s takeover has provide abortive and the lender banks are closing in to take over following default in loan facility agreements with the consortium of banks in Nigeria.

Serkan Okandan, Chief Financial Officer of Etisalat Group, who issued the announcement by the UAE mobile phone group, and operators of the Etialat Nigeria says that both parties have reached a deal to commence transfer of ownership to the banks by 5.00pm on Friday June 23, 2017, a development that has since sparked concerns over the future of the mobile phone company.

NCC’s Ojobo draws the attention of the lender banks to the Section 38 and Sub section 1 of the NCA which spells out that, “The grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee and the license shall not be operated by, assigned, sub licensed or transferred to another party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted;”

 

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
NATCOM must pay, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, insists
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC

By this evening, the Nigerian telecoms regulator has again waded in to reassure the market and Etislat Nigeria subscribers of “a planned takeover of Etisalat by a consortium of banks.”

Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, NCC says the lenders banks must take note of relevant provision of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 as well as relevant provisions of the laws guiding the transfer of licences issued operators by the telecoms regulator.

NCC’s Ojobo draws the attention of the lender banks to the Section 38 and Sub section 1 of the NCA which spells out that, “The grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee and the license shall not be operated by, assigned, sub licensed or transferred to another party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted;”

According to the Nigerian telecoms regulator, Sub Section 2 of the same provision equally states that, “A licensee shall at all times comply by the terms and condition of the license and the provision of this act and its subsidiary legislation.”

Ojobo, who says that NCC is aware of the indebtedness of Etisalat Nigeria to the consortium of banks says that the telecoms regulator and its banking counterpart, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “mediated by holding several meetings with the banks, Etisalat and other stakeholders with a view to finding a resolution.”

Despite the efforts of the two industry regulators of Federal Government, “regrettably these meetings did not yield the desired results”, Ojobo says.

“The NCC wishes to reassure the over 21 million Etisalat subscribers that it will do all within its regulatory power to ensure that Etisalat subscribers continue to enjoy the services provided by the operator”, according to the telecoms regulator.

According to Ojobo, “the Commission has taken proactive steps to cushion the impact of the takeover, this is without prejudice to the ongoing effort between Etisalat and the banks toward negotiated settlement.”

The NCC spokesman did not provide further details of measures that have been taken to cushion the impact on Etisalat Nigeria subscribers, but he sounds a note of reassurance.

“Whilst the banks and Etisalat are working at resolving the issues, the Commission wishes to assure subscribers that they will continue to enjoy the services provided by Etisalat”, Ojobo adds.

According to him, “in view of the recent development, NCC wishes to reassure all stakeholders in the telecommunications sector in particular the subscribers on the Etisalat Network that the Commission will ensure that the integrity of Etisalat Network is not compromised.”

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