There are strong indications that the current Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-MTN Nigeria face-off may soon be resolved with the intervention of telecoms sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) resolve to broker peace between the two.
The CBN has ordered the mobile giant to refund $8.1billion allegedly repatriated from the country.
Besides, the Attorney General of the Federation has demanded the payment of $2billion alleged to be unpaid taxes over a 10-year period, allegations the telco has consistently rejected.
MTN Nigeria claimed that due process was followed in the transaction concerning Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI), insisting that it has remained a good corporate citizen by paying its taxes. It has however approached the High Court to seek restraining injunctions against its two accusers .
Dismissing insinuation among South Africans that the Federal Government is out to appropriate MTN Nigeria’s assets, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Garba Umar Dambatta, Wednesday in Durban, South Africa, assured the investment community that there was no such plan, adding that steps have been taken to reach an amicable settlement of the matter.
South African reporters had raised fears about the development as being capable of keeping potential investors at bay.
Prof Dambatta said though the regulatory functions of the NCC have been spelt out by its enabling Act, just as that of the CBN and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), he said the Commission has stepped in, adding that an amicable resolution would soon be reached.
Dambatta, however, did not give any details. He said intervention in such disputes was in the DNA of the Commission because of its commitment not to reverse the gains of the sector, which he said is not only adding 10.5 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), but also enabling other sectors of the economy.
Also speaking on the occasion, MTN Group CEO, Rob Shutter, said the telco will amicably work around the logjam.
Shutter, while commending the leadership of NCC, s aid the group was proud of the success story of its Nigeria operation, adding that MTN Zambia has followed the footsteps of the NCC to launch a campaign dedicating this year as the Year of the Consumers.
He assured the international investment community that Nigeria remains an investment destination in Africa.