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MTN has paid ₦165bn out of ₦330bn fine

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Phuthuma Nhleko

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday disclosed that MTN Nigeria Limited has paid ₦165bn out of ₦330bn fine leveled against it by the regulatory agency.

The Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta, said this in Abuja while hosting some top management executives of the telco (including Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko, the Chairman of MTN Group) who paid him a courtesy visit at the end of a strategic board meeting.

Professor Danbatta also used the occasion to disclose that the National Frequency Management Council has decided to retain the controversial ₦30bn 700MHz spectrum MTN Nigeria Limited acquired from the National Broadcasting Commission in 2015. He, however, stressed that the telco must only use said frequency for the sole purpose for which it was acquired; for telecommunications services instead of broadcast services.

Background to the fine

In 2015, MTN Nigeria Limited was fined ₦ 1.04 trillion by Nigeria’s NCC following the uncovering of evidence that the leading telecoms operator in Nigeria had abused some operational guidelines; including irregular registration of subscribers. Consequently, after many months of negotiations between the company, the NCC and the Federal Government, said fine was eventually reduced to  ₦330bn.

Also as part of the re-negotiations, payment of the fine was spread out over a three-year period. From all indications, the telco had kept to schedules with the total payment of ₦165bn so far. For this, Professor Danbatta commended them, saying that he is “delighted that you chose to have this strategic meeting in Nigeria. We always try to find pragmatic ways to engage with all operators, including the MTN.”

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Part of the fine was paid in March. Not more than two weeks ago, we received a cheque for ₦55bn. So far, MTN has paid more than 50 per cent of the fine. That would translate to ₦165bn. The payment they are making is consistent with the terms of agreement we reached with them.

There was an amicable settlement and agreement leading to the way the fine is being paid. So far, they have not reneged. This information should go out.

The whole idea of that exercise was not to bring MTN to its knees. We just wanted to ensure that it is not business as usual. More than the fine, we wanted to ensure that the rules of engagement are respected. That is all. -Professor Umar Danbatta

As we reported, the NNC fine against MTN Nigeria caused its parent company to incur a loss in 2015. The group expected to have a headline loss per share of 474 cents compared to a profit of 1204 cents in the corresponding period of 2015.

MTN Nigeria Limited was incorporated in 2001 and has more than 20 million subscribers, thereby making it Nigeria’s most dominant mobile operator. Unfortunately for it, the 2015 controversy affected its operations, leading to it losing important market value to its topmost competitor, Globacom Nigeria. But the company has since rebounded. According to National Bureau of Statistics, the company recorded a leading market share of 36.04 by the fourth quarter 2017.

Recall that the MTN Group recovered from the 1.4 billion rand loss recorded in 2016 to an improved 3.3 billion rand in 2017, as shown in its FY report which we published.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: FG to disburse N10 billion for local vaccine production

The Minister of Health has disclosed that Nigeria is exploring options for the licensed production of COVID-19 vaccine.

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The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the daily Covid-19 briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja.

  • “The Ministry of Finance has released N10billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”

He also warned Nigerians to ignore news about vaccines being for sale in Nigeria, as the procedures to acquire vaccines have to pass through due process.

  • I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
  • “I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria.”

He also stated that as Nigeria is experiencing the second wave, the FG needs to change its response procedures through infection mitigations and vaccines.

  • “There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge. The Federal Ministry of Health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic – Infection mitigation, Therapeutics and Vaccines.”

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported in November 2020, that the Health Minister announced Nigeria’s plans to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 112,004 confirmed cases.

On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 112,004 cases have been confirmed, 89,939 cases have been discharged and 1,449 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.17 million tests have been carried out as of January 17th, 2021 compared to 1.15 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 18th January 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 112,004
  • Total Number Discharged – 89,939
  • Total Deaths – 1,449
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,172,234

According to the NCDC, the 1,617 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (776), Kaduna (147) Kwara (131), FCT (102), Plateau (78), Edo (59), Ogun (53), Osun (45), Rivers (37), Taraba (36), Nasarawa (34), Adamawa (33), Kano (26), Delta (20), Ebonyi (16), Bayelsa (11), Gombe(11) and Borno (2).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 41,400, followed by Abuja (14,700), Plateau (6,831), Kaduna (6,325),  Oyo (4,695), Rivers (4,429), Edo (3,320), Ogun (2,912), Kano (2,617), Delta (2,122), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Kwara (1,697), Enugu (1,583), Gombe (1,500), Nasarawa (1,335), Ebonyi (1,275), Osun (1,260),  Abia (1,134), and Bauchi (1,107).

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Borno State has recorded 867 cases, Imo (857), Sokoto (677), Akwa Ibom (667), Benue (657), Bayelsa (619), Adamawa (573), Niger (547), Anambra (515), Ekiti (473), Jigawa (425), Taraba (294), Kebbi (251), Yobe (211), Cross River (169),  Zamfara (162), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

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On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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US Capitol complex temporarily shut down

The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby.

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The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily for about an hour on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby, highlighting the security concerns that are being raised days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The security concerns and the lockdown follows the January 6 attack on the US Capital by supporters of the outgoing US President, Donald Trump, after his encouragement and inciting comments, calling the Presidential election a fraud without any proof of evidence.

READ: President Trump says he won’t attend Joe Biden’s inauguration

Some of them even called for the death of the US Vice President, Mike Pence for presiding over the certification of Joe Biden’s November election victory.

While making the disclosure in a statement, the Capitol Police said that the lockdown has been lifted and the nearby fire contained.

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The Acting Chief of the Capitol Police had said that the complex which comprises of the Capitol, its grounds and several buildings were shut down as a precautionary measure.

READ: US Supreme court dismisses Texas bid to overturn presidential election results

The US Secret Service in a tweet post on its official Twitter handle said, “Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown. There is no threat to the public.’’

The city’s fire department in its tweet post said that firefighters put out a fire outside near the Capitol complex.

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The fire department said, “There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen.”

READ: Huawei accuses the United States of hacking

What you should know

  • President-elect, Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in at the US Capitol on Wednesday amid an unprecedented cordon of security, with strict physical distancing measures in place due to threats of violent attacks in Washington and the rising cases of coronavirus infections.
  • Donald Trump, who is just fresh from a historic second impeachment from the congress had said he would not attend, although his deputy, Vice President Mike Pence, had given an indication that he would attend.

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