By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said MTN Nigeria has so far paid N165billion out of a total of N330bn fine slammed on it in 2015 for SIM registration breaches.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta made this know on Monday when a delegation of MTN Group led by its Nigerian chairman Dr. Pascal Dozie paid a courtesy visit to the commission headquarters in Abuja.
Prof Danbatta said MTN had paid more than 50 per cent of the whole fine with the latest payment of N55bn in March.
He noted that the instalmental payment was in line with the terms of agreement reached between MTN and the regulatory body.
“It could be by sheer coincidence that part of the fine was paid in March not more than two weeks that we received the cheque of N55bn.
“So far MTN has paid more than 50% of the fine and that will translate to N165bn. Yes it’s a whopping sum of money and they have not defaulted yet, and this payment they are making is consistent with the terms of agreement we reached with them.
“Remember there was an amicable settlement agreement leading to the way and manner the fine is been paid instalmentally so far they have not relented they are busy paying”, he said.
” The fine was aimed at ensuring that it is not business as usual but to ensure that the rules of engagements are respected, and the rules governing the telecom sector of the economy is adhered to stressing that it will continue to cooperate with the telecom company because of it’s major contributions to the economic and digital growth of the nation’s economy.
“I remember even those difficult times the extent I went to provide succour to MTN we restored quickly regulatory services to MTN, renewed their licences because of the cooperate responsibility and how they have been digitally transition.”
Earlier in his address, the chairman of MTN Nigeria, Dr. Pascal Dozie urged the NCC to auction more spectrums to further open up the ICT space and improve the country’s economy.
He said: Nigeria is one of the largest contributors to it’s market and this visit is to cement the relationship between MTN and NCC and to open up the ICT space the fastest way possible as well to appreciate the NCC for it’s support.”
Recall that NCC had on 20 October, 2015, imposed a fine of 1.04 trillion Naira on the MTN for failure to disconnect 5.1 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline which was later reduced to N330bn after both parties reached a compromise.