Fine: Negotiating still on with FG, says MTN

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The chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, has said that the company is still negotiating with the federal government over the fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Moolman described the reports that the telecommunications outfit had proposed N300 billion payment as premature.

“The management of MTN Nigeria is aware of the reports on the settlement negotiations. The confidential negotiations are still very much ongoing with the authorities to achieve an amicable resolution of the matter. Accordingly‎, no further comment can be made at this time,” he said.

The company has been negotiating with the government over a possible reduction of the fine and made a part payment of $251 million (N50 billion), also setting aside $600 million for further payment of the fine.

On Thursday, Gilbert Nnaji, chairman of the senate committee on communications, alleged that Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, and the NCC had been sidelined in the negotiation process.

He also said his committee, which held an investigative hearing into the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on MTN was also, informed that the company had proposed to pay the sum of N300 billion between now and 2020.

According to him, the committee was told that a proposal for out-of-court settlement of the fine was already ongoing between the MTN and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, with respect of the fine which had been reduced to N780 billion.

During the sitting, Adeola Olamilekan, vice chairman of the senate committee, had displayed a proposal from MTN, which he said was made to the government by MTN.

The solicitor-general of the federation, Taiwo Abiodun, was reported to have acknowledged the proposal.

In the proposal, the telecommunications company told government it could only pay the sum of N300 billion between now and 2020.

A breakdown of the proposal indicated that MTN, having already paid N50 billion to a recovery account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would pay another N100 billion via electronic transfer between December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2020.

The proposal further indicated that another N80 billion would be paid by MTN ”as a demonstration of its commitment to and confidence in the Nigerian economy and subject to necessary regulatory approvals”.

It added that MTN Nigeria would make a purchase of N80 billion of Nigerian sovereign debt issued on international market in 2016 to 2017.

The proposal stated that the last tranche of the payment proposal would be N70 billion.

“MTN would pay through providing the FGN with access, subject to excess capacity to the company’s fibre network, for the purposes of allowing the government to expand its e-initiatives (e.g visa processing, public service, connecting schools, registration etc.), from the date of the execution of this agreement through December. 31, 2020,” it said.

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