The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given MTN Group two weeks to pay a $5.2 billion fine imposed on the mobile phone company for failure to cut off users with unregistered SIM cards, its spokesman said on Friday.
The NCC imposed the penalty on Monday, hitting Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator’s stock price. Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market by subscribers.
According to spokesman of NCC, Tony Ojobo, MTN had until Nov. 16 to make the payment, but the two sides were in talks to resolve the matter. “The outcome of the discussion may affect the date. That’s why they are having the discussion so that they can reach a solution,” Ojobo said
According to sources, the presidency and internal security agency were also involved in the talks.
MTN shares, up 3 percent at 159.03 rand by 0955 GMT in a slightly higher JSE Top-40 index, have slumped about 20 percent since Monday, knocking more than 60 billion rand ($4.4 billion) off the company’s market value.
If it stands, the penalty would wipe out more than two years of MTN’s annual profits.