South Africa’s MTN Group’s top brass and Nigerian shareholders have launched the equivalent of a major diplomatic push in Nigeria following a series of “strategic sessions” with top government officials, including Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Nigerian government regulator recently announced that the local subsidiary, MTN Nigeria has so far paid over N165 billion of N330 billion fines imposed against the mobile phone company over subscriber registration breaches.
Meanwhile, MTN Group leadership have visited Nigeria alongside key shareholders to engage government officials and critical stakeholders ahead of the proposed listing of the MTN Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
MTN Group, which owns MTN Nigeria, the nation’s largest mobile phone says the series of meeting with key Nigerian top government officials and regulators “was used to express MTN Group’s commitment to Nigeria, and also to give assurances on the planned IPO and diversification of shareholding to Nigerians”, according to an official statement by the mobile phone company made available to Technology Times.
Nigeria is MTN Group’s top market where its MTN Nigeria is the largest subsidiary of the South African mobile phone group and Africa’s largest telecoms network with over 53 million subscribers and a network coverage that spans 77.19% of Nigeria’s land mass servicing 89.39% of the population in 3,833 cities, towns and villages nationwide, the company says.
The mobile phone company says it employs over 500,000 Nigerians directly and indirectly; and “to date has invested over $13 billion in fixed assets and facilities nationwide to build the most expansive network in the country.”
Over the past few days, “a high-powered delegation from MTN Group” held planned strategic sessions in Nigeria solely to underscore the African multinationals commitment to the country, the statement says.
“The sessions were also geared towards the planned listing of MTN on the Nigeria Stock Exchange as well as finalizing an unprecedented partnership with Ecobank Group on the provision of mobile financial services across Africa.”
While in the country, the delegation which included Chairman, MTN Group, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko; Group Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter and Board Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Pascal Dozie, on Monday, April 9, 2018 met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Aso Rock Villa.
The visit was used to express MTN Group’s commitment to Nigeria, and also to give assurances on the planned IPO and diversification of shareholding to Nigerians, MTN says.
Other MTN Nigeria board members at the meeting were Colonel Sani Bello (retd); Chief Victor Odili; Mr. Tunde Folawiyo; Mr. Gbenga Oyebode; CEO, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdinand Moolman and the Corporate Relations Executive, Mr. Tobechukwu Okigbo.
The MTN directors also met with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, after which they visited the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who commended MTN for the incredible work it is doing in the communication sector and reiterated the commission’s commitment to the growth of the sector.
MTN says it has also set aside 1% of Profit After Tax annually to fund the activities of the MTN Foundation, which the mobile phone company says has expended over N18 billion in carrying out projects in 750 project sites in the 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT.