MTN Communications Nigeria Limited says it can only pay N300 billion and not the N780billion reduced fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Senate Committee on Communications made the disclosure yesterday.
MTN has been negotiating with Nigerian government team led by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), through its negotiator, former US Attorney General, Mr. Eric Holder.
NCC had slammed a N1.04 trillion fine on MTN last October for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered subscribers on its network.
As the December 2015 deadline for the N780b reduced fine approached, MTN sued the federal government challenging the power of the federal government and the NCC to impose the fine.
MTN, however, withdrew the case and began settlement of the fine by paying N50 billion “in good faith”.
ThisDay reports that at a Senate hearing on Thursday, Vice chairman of the committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West) unveiled a proposal from MTN acknowledged by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Taiwo Abiodun.
A breakdown of the proposal which was forwarded to the Ministers of Communications and Finance by the solicitor general, as well as the NCC executive vice chairman, Prof. Umar Dambatta include the N50 billion already paid by MTN into a recovery account of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and another N100 billion to be paid via electronic transfer between December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2020.
The proposal also includes another N80 billion proposed payment by MTN as a demonstration of its commitment to and confidence in the Nigerian economy and will be subject to necessary regulatory approvals.
It will see MTN Nigeria committing to purchase N80 billion of Nigerian sovereign debt issued on the international market in 2016-2017.
The last tranche of N70 billion which the network provider proposed will be through the provision of broadband access to the Federal Government of Nigeria (subject to excess capacity on the company’s fibre network) for the purpose of the government’s e-initiatives (e.g. visa processing, public service, connecting schools, registration, etc.).
If accepted, the broadband access valued at N70 billion will commence from the date of the execution of the agreement between the federal government and MTN to December 31, 2020.