MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has till May 31 to pay the balance of N55bn out of the N330bn fine imposed on the telecommunications company by the Nigerian Communications Commission for SIM card registration infraction, the regulatory agency has said. On Tuesday, in a declaration issued in Abuja the regulatory agency clarified that MTN had paid a total of N275bn, leaving a balance of N55bn that must be paid by the end of May.
The declaration said, “Following a negotiated reduction of the N1.04tn fine on MTN Nigeria to N330bn and in line with the staggered payment arrangement, MTN has, so far, paid N275bn 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 N55bn.” It added, “After six months of negotiation and re-negotiation over the fine which led to the reduction to N330bn, it was agreed that MTN would pay a balance of N280bn in six tranches. This was in addition to the “goodwill” payment of N50bn earlier made by MTN to the government.
“Specifically, MTN began the payment structure with the payment of N30bn into NCC’s Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10 2016. “Subsequently, MTN paid N30bn on March 31, 2017; N55bn on March 31, 2018; N55bn on December 31, 2018, and on March 31, it paid N55bn. “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.”
On October 20, 2015, the NCC, imposed a fine of N1.04tn on MTN for infraction of the provision of the NCC Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.2 million improperly-registered Subscriber Identification Modules lines within the prescribed deadline, because the lines had economic activities on them without proper registration.
In an agreement reached by the parties involved in a way to avoid decision likely to cripple business interest of the operators the commission regulates, it was also agreed that MTN would apologise to Nigerians, subscribe to the compulsory observance of Code of Corporate Governance for telecoms industry as well as undertake immediate steps to ensure its listing on the NSE.