Rob Shutter, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group Limited, said his company remains committed to Nigeria regardless of the regulatory troubles the company has suffered in the hands of Nigerian authorities.
Mr Shutter’s comments are coming just as the embattled company faces huge demands by Nigeria, including an order to return the $8.1 billion that was illegally moved from the West African country by the
According to him, the challenges presented by the issue will not affect the company’s ‘partnership’ with Nigeria.
“We have a proud history of being a major partner to the people of Nigeria and notwithstanding our current difficulties are firmly resolved to continue to do so.” -Shutter
The CEO’s placatory comments are similar to the ones he has made in the past since he assumed his current position back in early 2017. The tone is obviously intended to pacify Nigerian authorities that seem hell-bent on sanctioning the telco for years of regulatory abuse.
Since his appointment, Mr Shutter has tried hard to manage the controversies facing MTN, especially in Nigeria where the company seems to be in constant loggerheads with regulators.
Unfortunately, it has been a difficult task for Shutter…
The troubles facing MTN seem to crop up on a daily basis, despite Shutter’s best effort to manage them. Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami accused the company of owing as much as $2 billion in back taxes; money MTN is now required to pay.
The latest controversy came barely a week after the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered it to refund the sum of $8.1 billion; being funds that were illegally remitting to South Africa over time.
The crisis adds to the uncertainty around its planned Nigerian IPO which it must carry out by May 2019 or face further sanctions.
TN Nigeria was fined $5.2 billion in 2015 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers after the stipulated deadline date.
After diplomatic intervention by the then South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, the fine was reduced to $1 billion, payable in tranches. In addition, MTN was required to list on the NSE and tender an apology to the Nigerian government.