MTN Nigeria has paid N165 billion out of the N330 billion fine imposed on the mobile phone company arising from breach of SIM registration rules, the telecoms regulator, Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), has confirmed.
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC disclosed this when a high-powered MTN delegation led by Pascal Dozie, Chairman MTN Nigeria visited the corporate headquarters of the telecoms regulator in Abuja.
In October 2015, Technology Times exclusively reported the fine imposed against MTN Nigeria, the mobile phone business unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, as the most unprecedented in the telecoms market.
Following the deal with the Nigerian telecoms regulator, which had in 2015 imposed the unprecedented N1.04 trillion on MTN Nigeria for 5.1 million unregistered subscriber lines, the fine was reduced to N330 billion after several appeals and negotiations between Nigerian government and the mobile phone company.
MTN initially made a commitment payment of N50billion to the government while the remaining balance of N280 billion was to be paid in six tranches in accordance with the agreements between the regulator and the mobile telephony company.
The N50 billion paid in good faith and without prejudice by MTN Nigeria on February 24, 2016 forms part of the monetary component of the settlement leaving a balance of N280 billion outstanding which will be discharged as follows:
- N30 billion on July 8, 2016;
- N30 billion on March 31, 2017;
- N55 billion on March 31, 2018;
- N55 billion on December 31, 2018;
- N55 billion on March 31, 2019;
- N55 billion on May 31, 2019
“I am happy to inform you that our agreement with MTN on how and when to pay the fine has been adhered to,” Danbatta says.
“Just last month, March, we received a cheque of N55 billion from MTN as part of the fine payment plan. This brought the total fine paid by MTN Nigeria to N165 billion, that is about half of the fine.
“It is a whopping sum of money and they have not defaulted and these payments they are making is consistent with the terms of agreement we reached with them.”
He says the payment installment was in line with the terms of agreement reached between MTN and the regulatory body.
According to Danbatta, the fine is aimed at ensuring that it is not business as usual but to ensure that the rules of engagement are respected.
“It is also to ensure that the rules governing the telecoms sector of the economy is adhered to,” he said.
The NCC Vice Chairman says the Commission would continue to cooperate with the telecoms company because of its major contributions to the economic and digital growth of the nation’s economy.
Earlier, Chairman of MTN Nigeria said Nigeria was one of the largest contributors to its market and the visit was to cement the relationship between MTN and NCC.
Dozie appealed to NCC to auction more spectrum to further open up the ICT space and improve the country’s economy.