OrderPaperToday – The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has disclosed that South African telecom giant, MTN, has paid over N165billion of the fine slammed on it by the regulator.
The figure according to the EVC, represents half of the original fine slammed on the mobile operator.
Danbatta made the disclosure while receiving a delegation of MTN Nigeria at the NCC Headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
The delegation was led by the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Pascal Dozie; Chairman MTN Group, Phutuma Nkleko; COO MTN Group, Rob Schulte; and Col. Sani Bello (RTD), Vice Chairman MTN Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the Commission on October 20, 2015, imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion On MTN Nigeria for infraction of the provisions of the NCC (Registration of the telephone subscribers) Regulations, 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.1 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.
But after some negotiations with MTN the fine was reduced to N330 billion.
According to Danbatta, “part of the fine was paid in March, less than two weeks ago, we received a cheque of N55billion, they have paid more than 50% of the of the fine, that would translate to N165billion; they (MTN) have not defaulted, these payments have been consistent with the agreement we reached with them, remember that there was amicable settlement leading to the way and manner the fine is being paid. So far, they have not reneged with the payment of the fine.”
The EVC also noted that the essence of the fine is not to bring the organization to ruin but to enforce the rules of engagement in the telecom sector, adding that the Commission even rendered prompt approach to cushion the effect of the sanctions.
“The whole objective of the whole exercise was not to bring MTN to demise, we just wanted to ensure that it is not business as usual, we wanted to ensure that rules of engagement are respected, left to me, it would have been non-sanctionable offense, because the rules are clearly stated, therefore we must play by the rules.
“We provided succor to MTN by quickly restoring regulatory services to them, despite clamor by several people not to do so, we have put this incidence behind us, which won’t have been possible without the cooperation of MTN.”
He also commended MTN Nigeria for its corporate responsibilities and its leadership role in the digitization process.
In his speech earlier, the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Dozie, noted that Nigeria remains the largest contributor to the MTN Group, adding that the organization is committed to fostering telecommunications development in the country.