The Federal Government is looking forward to receiving the sum of N55 billion from MTN Nigeria Plc today, being the final tranche of the SIM registration fine imposed on the telecom giant in October 2015.
The Backstory: MTN Nigeria incurred the fine after it contravened the country’s SIM registration regulations. Initially set at N1.04 trillion, the fine was later reduced to N330 billion after successful negotiations.
Recall that Nairametrics earlier reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission gave the telco up till 31st May 2019 to pay the balance.
Now, some top officials at the NCC, the Ministry of Communications, and MTN have confirmed that the final tranche will, indeed, be paid latest today. According to them, the arrangement for the payment had been finalised since last week.
Payment so far: It would be recalled that following six months of negotiation over the fine which led to the reduction to N330 billion, MTN was mandated to make a balance payment of N280 billion in six tranches. This was in addition to the goodwill payment of N50 billion earlier made by the telco to the Government.
MTN started the payment with N30 billion, paid into the NCC’s Treasury Single Account on 10th June, 2016. Subsequent payments include N30 billion on 31st March, 2017, N55 billion on 31st March, 2018, N55 billion on 31st December, 2018 and N55 billion on 31st March, 2019.
The company will pay the final installment today in compliance with the staggered payment structure it agreed with the NCC.
Note that the agreement reached by the parties compelled MTN to offer an apology to Nigerians, subscribe to the compulsory observance of Code of Corporate Governance for Telecoms Industry, as well as undertake immediate measures to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, while speaking last week at the valedictory service of Adebayo Shittu, the outgoing Communications Minister, said the commission had succeeded in empowering Nigerians “to control, manage and own telecommunications companies in Nigeria by owning shares in MTN Nigeria.”