South Africa’s MTN Group has started “MTN Nigerianization agenda” to increase local participation in the mobile phone company, according to its top management.
Dr Ernest Ndukwe, MTN Nigeria Chairman Board of Directors, today dropped the hint of the MTN Nigeriazation Agenda said to be underway at the mobile phone company during a working visit to introduce Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO Designate, to Dr. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in Abuja, according to a post-visit Twitter message by the Ministry.
MTN Group, which owns 78,8% in MTN Nigeria, reached a deal with the Nigerian government to increase local participation after the mobile phone company was slammed with a N1.04 trillion fine for improperly registered SIMs on its network.
Nigerianization was made popular in local context as a policy of training and posting Nigerians to positions of responsibility previously occupied by expatriates in the public service.
During the visit to the Minister, Ndukwe pledged the commitment of the mobile phone company to what was referred to as the MTN Nigeriazation Agenda.
On his part, Toriola commended the Minister for the leadership “he is providing in the sector which has already led to the development of the National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 and the ongoing NIN-SIM Linkage Exercise.”
Meanwhile, Pantami “pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for the telecommunications sector to thrive, stating that government will not come up with policies that will stifle development in the sector.”
How MTN Nigerianization Agenda started
In October 2015, Technology Times exclusively reportedthe N1.04 trillion fine imposed against MTN Nigeria that was subsequently reduced to N330 billion following agreements reached between the mobile phone company and the Nigerian government to deepen local participation in the telecoms industry.
Under terms of the deal, MTN Nigeria in May 2019 listed on the The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) under the company’s plan to give “more Nigerians greater access to the MTN opportunity”; increase local owenership of the company and “building the equity capital markets in Nigeria.”
The next MTN Nigeria CEO, who resumes March 1, 2021, joined MTN in 2006, has held several senior operational roles at MTN Group and MTN Iran, including that of Chief Technology Officer at MTN Nigeria and CEO at MTN Cameroon.
MTN Group last year named Karl Toriola the next MTN Nigeria CEO to take over from outgoing MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman as of March 1, this year.
Toriola who holds BSc Electronic & Electrical Engineering and MSc Communication Systems has been a Director of various companies in the MTN Group.
Toriola, who joined MTN in 2006, has held a number of senior operational roles at MTN Group and MTN Iran, including that of Chief Technology Officer at MTN Nigeria and CEO at MTN Cameroon.
In his five years as VP of MTN’s WECA region, Karl has overseen the steady progress of the operating companies in the region, notably the turnaround of MTN Ivory Coast and MTN Cameroon over the past two years.
In addition, the WECA markets have made significant commercial and strategic strides, including the improvement of market share and the development of mobile financial services. The latter in particular is an important driver of the group’s medium- to long-term growth strategy.
Since joining the group in 2006, Karl (48) has also held a number of senior operational roles at MTN, including chief technical officer of MTN Nigeria and CEO of MTN Cameroon. He is also a board member on a number of companies within the group, including MTN Nigeria. Karl’s successor as VP for WECA will be announced after the group strategy review is completed by the end of November 2020.
“Karl brings extensive technical and commercial experience, as well as a deep understanding of the Nigeria market to the role,” Ralph Mupita, MTN Group President and CEO said while announcing Toriola as the next MTN Nigeria CEO.
“Karl started his MTN career in his home country at MTN Nigeria 14 years’ ago and has all the attributes necessary to lead this very important business into the future.”
“Ferdi has been an exemplary leader of MTN Nigeria and has put the business on a sound growth platform for the future,” said Mupita. “He brings significant strategic, financial and operational experience to the new group risk role, where we want to ensure that our enterprise-wide risk management systems are continuously strengthened and remain resilient as we drive our growth strategy.”