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MTN completes N330 billion SIM infraction fine after 4-years

Telecommunication giant, @MTNN has paid the last tranche of the N330 billion fine imposed by @NgComCommission.

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MTN Group Limited, NLC

Telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, has paid the last tranche of the N330 billion fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The final payment means that MTN has completed the N330 billion infraction fine and no longer owes  the Federal Government.

The development was disclosed by MTN Nigeria’s Chief Corporate Relations OfficerTobechukwu Okigbo. According to him, the successful resolution of the fine was as a result of strong collaboration between the company and the NCC.

“We are very pleased to have completed the payment of the N330 billion negotiated settlement with the NCC. We are particularly gratified to be in a position to have fully met the terms of the settlement within the agreed timeframes.

“I would like to thank the NCC for their constructive and collaborative approach to this issue, and believe that we emerge from it with a stronger relationship, focused on ensuring maximum value is delivered to our people, from a strong and growing telecoms sector.”

Back Story – In October 2015, NCC imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion fine on the telecom giant for non-compliance with a deadline set by the commission to disconnect all non-registered sim cards. The move by NCC followed accusations by mobile phone users that the regulator had failed to bring operators to account for poor services to subscribers.

Meanwhile, NCC later reduced the fine to N780 billion in December 2015, having taken into consideration the interest of the stability of the telecom sector. The fine was further reduced to N330 billion, even as MTN agreed to be listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). These agreements have now been fulfilled by MTN, including its Lising of 20.3 billion Shares in May 2019.

Payment in tranches: By the terms of agreement, MTN was expected to pay N30 billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June while the remaining balance was expected to be discharged as follows: N30 billion on 31 March 2017; N55 billion on 31 March 2018; N55 billion on 31 December 2018; N55 billion on 31 March 2019 and N55 billion on 31 May 2019.

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In fulfillment of its agreement with NCC, MTN recently disclosed it has so far remitted N235 billion of the N330 billion. Later in the month, NCC disclosed that the sum of N275 billion had been paid.

“Following a negotiated reduction of the N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria to N330 billion and in line with the staggered payment arrangement, MTN has, so far, paid N275 billion to the Federal Government”. – NCC

Upshots – MTN’s completion of the fine imposed by NCC is in fulfillment to the May 31st deadline set by the commission. Meanwhile, this is a welcome development as it means more money for the government. However, this is not expected to have any dip on the company’s financial performance as the 2018 FY result shows its operating profit grew by 36%.

Although, other factors may, as investors have been advised to exercise patience until more information is made available to the public regarding the investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the company’s listing activities.

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Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Why the proposed Borno power plant may not materialise 

The glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State.

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Only a few days ago, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, led a delegation to Borno State to meet with the Governor of the State, Babagana Zulum.

In the conversation with Zulum, Kyari promised the establishment of a gas-fired power plant in Borno State within a maximum of 4 months to solve the recent blackouts that resulted from insurgents cutting off Borno from the national grid since January this year.

In Kyari’s words, “We have talked to each other and we think it’s very possible to establish a dedicated power plant in Maiduguri which will serve current needs of power supply not only in Maiduguri but to other parts of the neighbouring cities.”

Yet, there is a significant possibility that the power plant promised by Kyari may not materialize for many reasons, the first of which is security. In the meeting with Kyari, Governor Zulum had noted: “The ongoing insurgency has cut off the entire Borno from the national grid in the last three months. We put all our efforts and restored it back… but unfortunately, after 48 hours, the same group of insurgents went back and destroyed the main tower again.”

This glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State, particularly noting that the State and its surrounding communities have been the hot zone of insurgent and terrorist attacks by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have particularly been states where the insurgents have set up shop and carried out various activities, including kidnap, extermination of entire communities, burning of markets and religious buildings and the attack on the United Nations compound, in each case claiming tens or hundreds of innocent lives.

One report reveals that at least 37, 500 people have been killed by the insurgent group since May 2011, a modest number, some say. Also, till date, some of the secondary school girls kidnapped in the April 2014 Chibok incident are yet to be returned to their families. It is then bewildering how Kyari intends to see to the construction and operationalizing of this gas power plant.

Additionally, while the Minister of Petroleum for State, Chief Timipre Sylva, announced last year about the discovery of oil and gas deposits in the North, we have not seen any exploration and production kick-off. It then begs the question of where the gas for the Borno power plant intends to be sourced. The only gas pipeline that runs through the North – the AKK- is still in its first phase of construction out of three phases and has been earmarked at the earliest, to be completed in 2023 – not counting the typical delays the project will experience along the way.

Should the AKK by some stroke of luck materialize much earlier than the target date, the pipeline route is a considerable distance from Borno. It runs the route of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Katsina-Kano, its endpoint, a striking 481km from Borno State. Thus, there would have to be construction of a tie-in pipeline almost as long as the AKK from Kano to Borno State to get gas to Borno.

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Optimists may reference the oil and gas discovery in the North and how production may start soon, thus obliterating the need for a 481km pipeline. This optimism however is not well-founded, as insecurity has been shown to be a major risk to oil and gas projects everywhere in the world. One of the major reasons the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline proposed to run from Nigeria to Algeria was abandoned was due to security challenges posed by Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Tuareg guerilla movement in Niger and other insurgent groups along the proposed route of the pipeline.

These increased the risks across board, including for completion and operations through the lifecycle of the project. As such, failing to fix the security threats in northeast Nigeria makes any proposed gas plant project a pipe dream. Transporting gas via LNG trucks is not a better option, given that the drivers and their cargoes would be in danger of being kidnapped, shot at or bombed. The risks for both personnel and investors are high.

In any event, promising a power plant in 4 months for the people of Borno is unconscionable, since a typical gas power plant will take between 1 to 6 years to construct in relatively peaceful regions. What the government needs to do instead of making promises it cannot keep is to work arduously to fix the security challenges in Northern Nigeria and at the same time consider using decentralised solar power to provide power supply to homes, government institutions, schools and businesses while plans to produce gas in the region or transport gas to it are underway.

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Lagos Commissioner of Police dismantles road blocks on Lagos-Badagry expressway

The Commissioner warned the concerned Area Commanders to take action on full compliance as any defaulter will be sanctioned accordingly.

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The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the immediate dismantling of all illegal roadblocks by police teams from the command on the Lagos-Badagry expressway.

The directive is to checkmate the illegal activities of the police on that route which have been condemned by the government, some stakeholders and international bodies and also bring sanity and decency to their operations along that axis.

That disclosure is contained in a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Adejobi in the statement said that CP Odumosu gave the order on Friday while addressing Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers in the command on the general security situation in the state and reviewing the anti-crime strategies of the command in order to sustain its feats on crime control.

What the statement from the Lagos State Police Command is saying

The statement from the Lagos Police Command partly reads, “In his bid to restore sanity and decency to the operations of the police along the ever-busy international route, Lagos/Badargy Expressway, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered for the immediate dismantling of illegal roadblocks by the police teams from the Lagos State Police Command.

The police boss, while reacting to some complaints from the general public and some security reports on the police activities along the international route, ordered the Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers whose jurisdictions fall along the Badargy Expressway; Festac and Area K, Marogbo, to withdraw their men from the illegal roadblocks and embark on aggressive motorised patrol and surveillance to police their areas and the route.

The Commissioner of Police confirmed that the illegal police roadblocks along the route have been condemned by the government, international bodies and interest groups and they must be dismantled without delay,” he said.

The Commissioner, however, noted that other police operatives from other police formations, outside the supervision of the Lagos State Police Command who operate along the route, would be contacted to adjust and do the needful to restore sanity to their operations.

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The CP Odumosu then warned the concerned Area Commanders to desist and take necessary action on full compliance with his order as any defaulter will be sanctioned accordingly.

 

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