The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has declared that MTN Nigeria has till May 31st, 2019, to pay the outstanding balance of N55 billion out of the N330 billion fine imposed on the telecommunications giant for SIM card registration infraction. The regulatory agency, in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, explained that MTN had paid a total of N275 billion, delaying a balance of N55 billion that must be paid by May-ending.
The statement reads: “Following a negotiated reduction of the N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria to N330 billion and in line with the staggered payment arrangement, MTN has, so far, paid N275 billion to the Federal Government.”
“Part of the fallout of the negotiated terms of payment of the fine is the listing of MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and this is being done. What this means, according to the staggered arrangement, is that May 31, 2019 would be the deadline for the telecoms company to pay the sixth and final tranche of the balance of N55 billion,” the statement reads in part.
Speaking on the state of MTN’s fine payment at the valedictory service organised for the Minister for Communications, Adebayo Shittu, in Abuja, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the agency had achieved success in encouraging Nigerians to own, control and manage Telcos in Nigeria by owning shares in MTN Nigeria.
Danbatta stated that through MTN’s listing on the NSE, the commission had turned into action a central function of the commission, which is to promote local investment and ownership in the telecoms sector.
MTN Nigeria Staggered Payments Response To The Commission.
It was earlier reported that the commission, in 2015, imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN Nigeria, for failure to disconnect over 5 million improperly-registered mobile lines within the given deadline. However, several negotiations after 6 months led to its reduction to N330 billion, where it was agreed that the telecom company would pay a balance of N280 billion in 6 tranches. This was in addition to the “goodwill” payment of N50 billion at an earlier time, made by MTN to the government.
The commission said: “Specifically, MTN commenced with the payment of N30 billion into the commission’s Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, 30 days from the date of the agreement. Afterward, it paid a total of N195 billion in four tranches, with an outstanding balance of N55 billion. The balance and final tranche of the payment will be paid by May 31 in line with the structure of the staggered payments agreed by MTN and the Nigerian government.”