MTN Rewards Nhleko For Negotiating Reduced Fine With NCC

Africa’s largest telecommunication company, the MTN group, has rewarded its Executive Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, with 5.6 million dollars in pay and bonuses for negotiating a reduced fine with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

Mr Nhleko also rejigged MTN group’s senior management team after taking over on short notice, following Former Chief, Sififo Dabengw’s resignation in November 2015.

The report also listed Mr Nhleko’s achievements to include the repatriation of funds from Iran and the review of corporate governance standards, among others.

The telecom giant was said to have allegedly transferred 13.92 billion dollars out of Nigeria through its bankers between 2006 and 2016.

The transaction was purportedly facilitated by four commercial banks in the country.

After much negotiation and renegotiation, MTN Nigeria agreed to pay a reduced fine of 330 billion Naira (about $1.67 billion) to the Federal Government in six installments over the next three years.


Source: Channels TV

South African Telco, MTN to pay N30 Billion fine by March 31

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, telecommunications firm, MTN is expected to pay N30 billion in the next eight days, as part of the N330 billion fine it is currently paying to the Federal Government.

Government had confirmed the earlier payment of N80 billion to its coffers in December last year, as part of the fine, which has been staggered till 2019.

MTN, Nigeria’s largest mobile operator, was initially fined $5.2 billion (N1.04 trillion) in 2015, for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered subscriber identification module (SIM) cards, some of which were allegedly linked to the Boko Haram insurgents, causing mayhem in the North East.

But following a series of interventions and negotiations, which lasted about six months, including a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, in March 2016 in Nigeria, the fine was reduced to N780 billion, and later N330 billion.

According to The Guardian checks, the N30 billion, which is due for payment by March 31st, will put the amount paid so far by the South African company to N110 billion.

The amount paid so far included the “goodwill” payment of N50 billion in December 2015 and another N30 billion on June 10, 2016. In line with terms of the resolution, the balance of N280 billion would be paid by MTN in six tranches between 2016 and May 31, 2019.

Other tranches of the payment include that MTN will pay on March 31, 2017 (N30 billion), March 31, 2018 (N55 billion), December 31, 2018 (N55 billion), March 31, 2019 (N55 billion) and the balance of N55 billion on May 31, 2019. The payments are expected to go into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

An MTN official, who spoke in confidence with The Guardian on the telephone yesterday, simply said the telecommunications operator is abiding with the terms of the staggered payment pattern.


Source: The Guardian

MTN announces first ever loss

South African telecoms giant MTN said Thursday that it made a $200m loss in 2016 – the company’s first – after suffering a huge fine in Nigeria and currency challenges in key markets.

“MTN Group’s financial results for 2016 reflect the most challenging year in the company’s 22-year history,” MTN said in a statement.

Johannesburg-based MTN reported profits of 20.2 billion rand ($1.6bn) before tax for 2015.

Overall performance was hindered by lower than expected growth in both South Africa and Nigeria — as well as the depreciation of the rand against the dollar and the continued impact of a $1bn fine by Nigerian authorities.

Nigerian authorities fined MTN in October 2015 for failing to disconnect unregistered mobile accounts in the country — originally ordering it to pay $1,000 for each improperly registered SIM card.

The Nigerian Communications Commission had ordered the purge for security reasons, as the country battles Boko Haram Islamists as well as criminality — especially kidnapping for ransom.

The original NCC penalty was equal to roughly a quarter of the country’s annual federal budget.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is MTN’s largest market, where it now has 62 million subscribers out of a total of 233 million — a 1.2 percent increase on 2015.

MTN’s operations in South Africa were hit by technical issues and customer service problems during the year, which also hurt the bottom line, the company said.

“Towards the end of 2016 our two largest operations (South Africa and Nigeria)… began to show signs of a turnaround following an extended period of underperformance.”

Revenue was fractionally up for the year at 146.9 billion rand ($11.3bn, 10.7 billion euros), the company said.

The MTN share price on the Johannesburg stock exchange rose five percent after the announcement of the company results compared to the close on Wednesday.

Nigerian Senate May Expel DSTV, MTN, Shoprite Over Xenophobic Attacks

Nigerian Senate on Tuesday weighed the option of expelling South African companies in Nigeria over xenophobic attacks.

This is coming as Nigerians in South African are at the mercy of various attacks by the citizens who believed that Nigerian citizens have taken over many of their jobs.

Senator Olusola Adeyeye representing Osun Central constituency of Osun State gave the hint during Tuesday’s plenary.

See tweet:

Xenophobic attack: MTN apologises for poor network

Telecommunication service provider, MTN, has appealed to its customers to bear with them concerning the poor network experienced for the past few days.

Although the reason for the poor network was not given, it’s likely that the attacks on MTN offices by Nigerians protesting xenophobic attacks of fellow citizens in South Africa may have been responsible.

The statement shared via its twitter account @MTN180 reads: “Dear customers we apologise for the difficulty you may be experiencing on our network.

“We are working hard to resolve it quickly.

“Please bear with us.”

NE reported the invasion of MTN Nigeria’s office in Abuja by a group of angry Nigerians protesting the continued Xenophobic attacks on their fellow citizens and other Africans in South Africa.

Also, Bayelsa State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Monday, uncovered plans by some persons to attack investments of MTN in the state as reprisal for ongoing attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

NSCDC Uncovers Plot To Attack MTN In Bayelsa

The Bayelsa state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has revealed plans by some persons to attack investments of MTN in the state as a reprisal following the ongoing xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

In a statement, the Bayelsa Commander of NSCDC, Mr Desmond Agu, said that the corps is on red alert to stop aggrieved persons from destroying MTN facilities in the state.

Mr Agu said intelligence reports revealed that such persons were planning to vent their anger on MTN’s masts and other facilities.

The Commander however advised the people behind such plots to desist from toeing a violent path and appealed to members of the public to report suspicious people to the corps.

“Our attention has been drawn to an intelligence report that some people are planning to carry out an attack on South African investments, especially the MTN’s telecommunication masts and other facilities following the ongoing xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

“Members of the public especially Bayelsans are hereby advised to desist from such acts and avoid taking laws into their hands.

“As an organisation saddled with the responsibility of protecting our critical national infrastructures, the command remains committed to deliver on its mandate.

“Members of the public are hereby advised to report person or group of persons suspected to be planning such attacks to the command,” Mr Agu stated.


Source: Channels TV

South Africa issues statement over Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, MTN properties

South African government has said that there is need to collaborate with major stakeholders in Nigeria to find lasting solution to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

This is coming as Nigerian protesters on Thursday attacked and vandalised the head office of Africa’s biggest mobile firm in Abuja in apparent retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in South Africa.

The retaliation also coincided with the visit of South Africa’s mobile operator MTN Group, who paid Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo a visit in Abuja.

The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, on Thursday stressed the need for the South African Government to collaborate with major stakeholders in Nigeria to find lasting solution to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The Commissioner stated this while receiving the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, in Abuja.

While condemning the recent attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians, Mnguni said there was need for the two countries to work together to bring an end to the problem. He said that it was important for Nigeria and South Africa to bring strategists together to discuss the issues at stake in order to find lasting solution to the problem.

“We will look for ways to contain the tension and come up with ways to encourage interaction between the two countries and other African countries.

“South Africa cannot see itself as an island. Instead, it will continue to work towards peace building and integration,’’ he said.

The High Commissioner further said the South African Government had always advocated for respect for human rights, stressing that there was no justification for the attacks. However, he called on foreigners to always abide by the laws of the countries where they live.

He pointed out that there were concerns among South Africans that a few foreigners, including Nigerians were involved in drug peddling.

Earlier, Sani expressed concern over the recurrent nature of xenophobic attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians, saying that if allowed to continue, it would portray the continent in bad light, adding that it was time for major stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem. “Nigeria’s relationship with South Africa dates back to the time of Apartheid.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa also condemned strongly any attempts to mobilise communities against African brothers and sisters.

“This is totally unacceptable

He said: “African neighbours are our brothers & sisters. We are all Nigerians, we are all Zimbabweans, we’re all South Africans”.

Xenophobia: Nigerian students threaten South African companies

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given 48 hours ultimatum to all South African companies in Nigeria to relocate over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The students gave the ultimatum at a peaceful demonstration at some South African companies in Abuja on Thursday.

During the march the students carried a banner, which read: “NANS Against Xenophobic Attacks on Nigerians.”

While the students marched, the security men stood and watched to ensure law and order.

The president of NANS, Kadiri Aruna, said in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at DSTV office, a South African company, in Wuse 2, Abuja, that Nigerian students had resolved to condemn the attacks.

“We are saying that enough is enough as South Africans have openly attacked and bullied Nigerians,” he said.

Mr. Aruna said that the protest would also serve as a warning to other countries trying to underrate Nigerians.

He said that after 48 hours, if nothing was done, messages would be sent to students in all university campuses to bring down MTN masts all over the country.

Mr. Aruna said that DSTV and Shoprite would also be affected as the union had put adequate strategies in place to make the action effective.

“All the South African business empires in Nigeria and their collaborators in Nigeria will be affected.

“I don’t want to say we will be barbaric but we will not be lawful in our actions, we will do it and face the consequences, enough of this rubbish,’’ he said.

Mr. Aruna stressed that the poor treatment being meted out to Nigerians was particularly insulting given the role Nigeria played in ending the apartheid regime in South Africa.

“Nigeria contributed 80 per cent of the freedom the South Africans are enjoying today because we saved them from the jaws of apartheid.

“Who is South Africa to humiliate Nigeria? So they forget things so soon, let them go back to history and records to see how much financial assistance and what the country did to save them,’’ he said.

The union president said that the situation was inhuman and for this reason all reasonable Nigerians must react.

“In science they say you use malaria to cure malaria, now you use madness to cure their madness, and that is why we are advising them to leave Nigerian soil before 48 hours.’’

He said that the Federal Government should not wait till the dying minute before evacuating Nigerians from South Africa.

Mr. Aruna said it was time for government not to only condemn the attacks but take a firm stand by summoning South Africa’s high commissioner and if possible cut diplomatic ties with that country.

“Government should take extra-diplomatic measures in dealing with the latest deadly assaults because if nothing drastic is done it will become a regular occurrence.

“This is the time to place South Africa where it belongs,’’ he said.

He said that the last time the xenophobic attack happened nothing was done, no action was taken and no arrest was made and that was why South Africans repeated the attacks.

Aruna said it was so unfortunate that during the attacks the South African Government refused to take up its responsibility of securing Nigerians and their properties.

“The government of South Africa is criminally quiet and they say silence is consent, and their police are folding their hands while they are killing Nigerians, this is conspiracy, enough is enough,’’ he said.

He said the peaceful rally would continue and spread across the country.

Over 50 police and, DSS operatives surrounded the DSTV premises and along the street making it impossible for NAN to contact any DSTV officials for comments.


Source: NAN

BREAKING: Protesters besiege MTN office in Abuja over Xenophobic Attacks

Disheartened by the continuous attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, some protesters on Thursday attacked and vandalised the head office of South African owned telecommunications company, MTN in Abuja in apparent retaliation, an MTN spokesman said.

“They are protesting against the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. It’s our regional head office in Abuja. That’s where we have our customer care center,” the MTN spokesman said.

“They vandalised equipment, stole customer phones and iPads. Some customers too were attacked.”

A South African government source described the attack as serious. “This wasn’t just some people on the street throwing stones. They broke into the building and stole things and broke things,” the source said.

The attack happened just as MTN’s chairman Phuthuma Nhleko is on a visit to see Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

Early this week some South Africans issued threats to Nigerians living in the country, few days after at least 20 shops believed to belong to immigrants were looted.


Source: YNaija

MTN has paid N80bn of N330bn fine, says FG.

The federal government says MTN had paid N80 billion of the N330 billion fine imposed on it for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards.

Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, disclosed this at a forum organised by NAN in Abuja.

He said the company paid the sum for the first year.

MTN was initially fined 5.2 billion dollars (N1.04 trillion) but it was later reduced to N330 billion.

“For the first year, they paid N80 billion, after paying the initial N50 billion, and they will have to pay for three years until they will complete the N330 billion,” Shittu said.

“MTN does not have a choice, when the law was made, it said for every unregistered SIM card in use, the fine is N200,000, the law never anticipated that one company will be in violation to the tune of millions of lines.

“It was inconceivable, so when the thing was added 200,000 times 5.2 million lines, it came to a trillion plus.

“When it happened, MTN did four things; one they accepted that they were in default, two, they apologised for that and three they committed themselves never to allow such a thing to happen and number four, they asked for remission.

“Government had to look at a number of factors because if they have to pay this amount; they will pack up.

“We also knew that we invited the international community to come and invest and anything that will be done which will shake the confidence of international investors in Nigerian economy, we must avoid it.”

He said the federal government decided to be considerate, explaining there would have been mass job loss if MTN had folded up.

“Consequently, we must not throw away the baby with the bath water, if they had packed up and left, let us assume all their staff are not more than 5, 000, it means all of those 5,000 will lose their jobs,” he said.

“Also those who made investment, who bought shares will lose their shares and the Nigeria banking sector would go into crisis.”

Shittu said even in the court system, if one was fined and could not pay for one reason or the other, the person would ask for reconsideration either by way of appeal or bringing a motion.

UPDATE: MTN Denies Sacking Oyagbola, Says It Never Paid Any Bribe To Abba Kyari.

Telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria has denied media reports that its human resources and corporate service executive, Amina Oyagbola, was sacked for her role in the alleged bribing of Nigerian authorities to reduce its fine.

While denying that it paid a bribe to have the fine slashed from N1.04 trillion to N330 billion, the company said Oyagbola made the “voluntary decision to resign after serving MTN for 12 years as the longest serving director”..

The telecom giant made the clarification in a statement released on Friday.

The statement reads in full:

Our attention has been drawn to a report published on December 23, 2016 by an online website – about our retiring Human Resources and Corporate Service Executive, Amina Oyagbola.

To be clear, we state without equivocation that the story is untrue, malicious, defamatory, with the goal of damaging our hard-earned reputation, as well as that of our highly respected executive, Amina Oyagbola, who has served our company for 12 meritorious years.

To address the issues raised in the article:

– As we have stated at various times in the past, we categorically deny the accusation that MTN (or its employees) offered a bribe to a government official over the NCC fine.

– Secondly, there is absolutely no truth to the accusation that Mrs Amina Oyagbola who is our Human Resources and Corporate Services Executive was fired. She made the voluntary decision to resign after serving MTN for 12 years as the longest serving Executive, during this period she also served as a Director on the boards of the MTN Nigeria Foundation, MTN Benin and Visafone.

Amina has made the decision to take a well-deserved break after almost 30 years of providing her leadership skills and expertise to various multinational organisations in corporate Nigeria. 

In conclusion, we would like to reassure our customers and stakeholders in the public and private sector that MTN continues to subscribe to the highest ethical standards in all its activities.We take great pains to ensure that we do business with honesty and integrity, and cherish our reputation. As such we will be considering all options (including legal) to redress this grave injustice against our brand.

We want to take this opportunity to call on the publishers of the said article to immediately retract this falsehood and issue a public apology to MTN and Mrs Amina Oyagbola.

JUST IN: MTN Fires Amina Oyagbola Over Bribery To Chief Of Staff Abba Kyari

South African telecom giant, MTN, has fired one of its top and most valuable staffers in order to avoid scrutiny by the United States government over bribes offered to Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shortly after helping to resolve a hefty fine imposed by the Nigerian government, Amina Oyagbola was so important to MTN that the company gave her two strategic positions. Her corporate elevation saw her combining leadership of the Human Resources department with the post of “Director of Strategic Communications” at MTN.

Ms. Oyagbola and her husband were instrumental in resolving MTN’s serious problem with the Nigerian Presidency culminating in a massive $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company for ignoring the Nigerian government’s directive to ensure that all SIM cards were registered as a strategy to curb Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast.

An insider within the company and other sources in Abuja told our correspondent that, once the fine was imposed, Ms. Oyagbola recruited a close friend, Femi Lijadu, to act as a consultant for “strategic advisory services.” In that capacity, Mr. Lijadu was a member of the team that negotiated with the Federal Government to reduce the fine to $1.7 billion. One of our sources said Ms. Oyagbola and Mr. Lijadu once worked with presidential Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari at the United Bank for Africa.

Once the fine was reduced to about a third of the original sum, Ms. Oyagbola’s corporate star seemed to soar. However, MTN last week told her to step down from one of her two corporate positions. A source at MTN claimed that Mrs. Oyagbola decided to resign.

However, another source within the company told Saharareporters that the once powerful corporate player was fired after MTN’s bribe scandal with Mr. Kyari came to the notice of the MTN’s parent company in South Africa. The source added that the decision to relieve Ms. Oyagbola was taken in order to avoid the consequences of a global disgrace should US authorities ask questions related to the company’s reported offer of an undisclosed sum as bribe to Mr. Kyari before the senior presidential aide helped broker a deal that lowered the fine earlier imposed by the government.


Source: Sahara Reporters.

NCC releases short code to opt out of unsolicited messages from Telcos.

The Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, on Thursday advised consumers to take advantage of the 2442 short code to choose the type of messages they want to receive from telecoms operators.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta, gave the advice at the 79th Telecom Consumers Parliament help in Abuja.

He said that the parliament, with its theme: Implementation of the `Do not Disturb’ (DND): the journey so far,’ was aimed at sensitising the public to the policy.

Mr. Danbatta said that the short code would go a long way to give consumers the right to choose the messages they wanted to receive.

According to him, following the barrage of complaints on the menace of unsolicited message, the commission swayed into action by mandating the activation of 2442 short code.

“The code will enable consumers to control the type of messages they receive.

“I am glad that it has come into effect and I urge all consumers to take advantage of this new regime by sending “stop to 2442’’ to avoid unsolicited messages, he said.

Mr. Danbatta said the commission was aware that for the initiative to succeed, there was need for massive public enlightenment by both regulator and the operating companies.

“It is on this regard that the theme of today’s parliament becomes relevant.

“The objective is to place the issue on the front burner of our discourse until unsolicited messages become a thing of the past,” he said.

Mr. Danbatta said the issue of consumer’s protection was very paramount to the commission, adding that consumers were kings in the market place.

To uphold the principle, he said the commission had put in place various programmes to inform, educate and protect the consumers of telecom service.

Presenting a paper on the theme, Ayoola Oke, a telecom consultant with NCC, called on operators to ensure full compliance with the 2442 short code.

Mr. Oke said that one major challenge of the policy was lack of awareness, hence the need for both the regulators and the telecom operators to be involved in massive publicity.

He called for effective complaint management by the operators and network management to block spam and screen out malicious mails.

Responding to questions on outright ban on unsolicited messages, Amina Shehu, Head of Legal, NCC, said complete ban was not possible because of e-commerce system.

MTN appoints ex-Vodafone CEO as new boss

MTN has hired former Vodafone Germany CEO Jens Schulte-Bockum as its new Chief Operating Officer, replacing Jyoti Desai, who is retiring.

Besides, the group has announced it is hiring BT Global Services sub-Saharan Africa CEO Oliver Fortuin as executive head of business enterprise and Bernice Samuels as group executive of marketing.

Schulte-Bockum will assume the position of group COO effective 16 January 2017. Schulte-Bockum was CEO of Vodafone Germany between 2012 and 2015.

“We expect Jens to bring extensive experience in the consumer business, as well as the area of large-scale transformation in a convergent operation,” MTN said in a statement to shareholders on Wednesday.

Fortuin, meanwhile, will join MTN on 1 March 2017 from BT Global Services. Fortuin has decades of ICT sector experience at companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo.

“As head of BT Global Services, Oliver was engaged in the development and sale of enterprise solutions to many multinationals across the African continent. Oliver will greatly enhance MTN’s strategy in this area,” MTN said.

Samuels, meanwhile, is a familiar face at MTN. She was previously chief marketing officer at MTN South Africa, prior to assuming a similar role at First National Bank. After leaving FNB, she was named executive director of strategy and business development at SABMiller in South Africa.

“These senior management appointments bring to finality the management aspect of a large-scale transformation and operational review process which I am confident will place the group in good stead to capitalise on its many prospects and reach its full potential in a rapidly transforming and exciting sector,” said MTN interim executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko in the statement.

MTN’s suggestions: this is definitely not the way to go – By EBUKA NWANKWO

MTN has suggested to government to either ban or tax WhatsApp, Snapshot and Viber calls. Reason: the activities of these companies, which might not be paying taxes in Nigeria, are affecting their businesses.

When and how? Last Tuesday, Ferdinand Moolman, MTN’s CEO, asked Nigerian lawmakers to take the kind of action the UAE took on the likes of WhatsApp and Viber.

And what did the UAE and some other countries do to WhatsApp and Skype calls?

They put heavy barriers to these services. For instance, the UAE banned mobile operators from using the voice calling features of companies such as WhatsApp. The country’s telecoms regulator further stated that companies who wanted to offer these services should seek licences.

And if such is applied to Nigeria, it will amount to taxation through the backdoor: companies who get these licences would build it into their costs, and these services won’t be ‘free’ anymore. (Today, these services are technically free, except for the cost of data bundles.)

Unfortunately, the implications of these taxes are grave. For example, one of the services, which reduces cost for people who export and import goods and services in Nigeria, is VoIP – the Voice over Internet Protocol which companies such as Skype and WhatsApp are providing.

A one-hour business call to the UK could be relatively free on WhatsApp or cost as much as N2000 on some networks. And if you multiply this cost for all your employees, the implication could be outrageous.

But big telecoms businesses are not happy. Even though WhatsApp calls are good for you, it eats into the profits of telecoms firms.

But a country in depression should know what is good for it, especially if it wants to come out of depression. It’s unfortunate that since the debate on taxing calls over three minutes started, little research has been published on the impact of increasing telecommunication taxes on businesses.

Research has shown that one way a small business can reduce its expenses is to reduce its telephone expenses, and many companies are advising their employees to Skype or WhatsApp. (Sadly, a country in recession, which should be thinking of eliminating every barrier to business, is actually thinking of creating more.)

And even big companies have started bargaining for all kinds of contracts with major phone operators for their employees, who make long calls.

And if you spend hours talking to friends abroad on WhatsApp, this new proposal will definitely kill that habit.

Should taxes and tariffs on telecommunications be finally increased, as some in the industry want, the relative increase in government revenue will be nothing compared to the damage that will be unleashed on the economy.

But telecommunication companies and government will have to survive for the economy to grow, as well. And to survive, these companies and their regulators should endeavour to increase their user base in order to get revenue from economics of scale.

There are other novel schemes that could be introduced. A good example is the ‘‘speed-based pricing’’ system. Some Nigerians can afford to pay more for ultra-fast connectivity. Those into Bitcoin mining won’t mind.

But the rest of us who do basic things like sending emails, ‘Facebooking’, visiting the controversial MMM site, watching YouTube and video calling should be allowed to have cheap connectivity. Basic internet speeds, which can be achieved in many western countries, should be accessible to Nigerians.

MMM phenomenon

Just like telecom firms have complained, I expect banks to soon accuse MMM and other funny schemes of taking away cash from their vaults – many people no longer want to keep cash in savings and fixed deposit accounts.

Today, the most profitable businesses are these schemes. It doesn’t matter to some Nigerians that these schemes are termed ‘Ponzi schemes’ and that one newspaper predicted that they would collapse in July.

These guys believe they are providing and receiving epp!

WhatsApp, Viper, others adversely affecting our business in Nigeria – MTN

Africa’s largest telecom firm, MTN, has said the activities of ‘over-the-top’ companies like WhatsApp have adverse effects on the sustainability of Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ferdinand Moolman, said this while making a presentation at a hearing convened by Senate Committee on Communications on Tuesday.

The hearing chaired by Adeola Olamilekan, vice-chairman of the committee, was organised following the now suspended data tariff hike by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Last week, NCC had directed the major telecommunications companies to increase data price in order to allow “new entrants” acquire market share and operate profitably. The policy was later suspended following public outcry.

The Senate also asked the regulatory agency to halt the policy.

At the Tuesday’s hearing, Mr. Moolman, highlighted factors impacting Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.

Among these factors, Mr. Moolman mentioned “the depletion of operator revenues by unlicensed providers of “over-the-top” telecoms services who do not have any physical presence; nor pay any taxes; nor make any significant contribution to employment or other socio-economic objectives of government in Nigeria.”

Mentioning WhatsApp, Viber etc., he said these companies were eroding gains of Nigeria’s telecom companies and asked Nigeria to take action like the United Arab Emirates did.

He also lamented the inability of operators to access foreign exchange.

“This is particularly debilitating given that most of our inputs are sourced off-shore. This has very significantly increased both operating and capital expenses.”

Also, speaking at the hearing, NCC’s boss, Umar Dambatta, said the move by the NCC last week was to ensure competition.

Mr. Dambatta said major telecom firms offering data at low cost would later raise the price after pushing competitors (new entrants) out of market.

Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu, told the hearing he was not consulted by the NCC before issuing the directive.

Another major telecom firm, Globacom, however, said floor pricing should be left to market forces and not to the regulator.

The Nigeria Data Pricing War – by Yemi Ade-John

The overriding principle should be that lower prices are good for the consumer and if their is underpricing or cartel price fixing there are methods for punishing that behavior all the while ensuring that costs of fines for example are not passed on to consumers.

All today’s big operators were once small operators and they did fine. Etisalat came in last and is doing fine and we haven’t heard that NITEL is complaining

How many operators make up a monopoly or oligopoly and how many more do we need to get this vaunted ‘perfect’ market?

Is the CDMA platform efficient or more beneficial,why is it being protected and who says they won’t engage in anticompetitive practices themselves just like the big GSM ones have E been doing presumably for years unchecked till now? So are we now being encouraged to migrate to CDMA operators with their limited geographical spread?

What heaven dictated business model did the regulator use to determine that under-pricing was taking place?

I have never heard of a regulator anywhere dictating prices to go upwards on its own initiative for over 80% of the consumer base in an industry;its normally the other way with the operators persuading a reluctant regulator on the need to be allowed to effect increases-in areal democratic society that this sort of regulatory behavior would result in heads rolling!

Nigerians Petition FG to Stop Data Tariff Increase by NCC

Nigerians have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government over plans to increase data plan prices by December 1st, 2016.

The petition is available via against the federal government to halt the increase by NCC.

The petition reads: “NCC has instructed telecommunications companies within the country Nigeria to make certain changes is their data structure which might lead to possibly increased rates for less data. Which is supposed to be implemented by December 1st 2016. We want the price of data to remain the same and individual companies to sell data at the price at which they choose to.

This petition will be delivered to:
Nigeria Communication Commission

  • MTN Nigeria
  • Glo Nigeria
  • Others

NCC to Sanction Airtel, Globacom, MTN, 10 Others Over Unsolicited Telemarketing

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday said it would sanction 13 telecommunications operators for failing to comply with the ‘2442 Do Not Disturb (DND)’ directive on unsolicited telemarketing. According to a statement signed by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, the directive was issued on April 20, 2016.

Ojobo said that the 13 operators included: Airtel Network Ltd., MTN Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, Smile Communication, Visafone Communications, Ntel, Etisalat, Multi-Links, Starcomms, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel Ltd., Megatech Engineering Ltd. and Gicell Wireless.

According to him, the service providers have been given another one-week ultimatum, from Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, to remedy the situation or face the sanctions enshrined in the directive.

“Worried by the non-compliance by the operators, occasioned by a deluge of complaints by subscribers across Nigeria, the NCC inaugurated an eight-member committee to look into the matter.

“After several meetings, including those it held with the network providers, it became necessary to issue the latest ultimatum to redress the menace of incessant unsolicited text messages and phone calls for telemarketing via the various networks,’’ he said.

Ojobo said the commission had written to the providers on whose networks it had received series of complaints from subscribers regarding the efficacy of DND.

He said the phrase ‘Network-Generated SMS’ referred to in Part (d) of the directive shall be taken to mean messages and calls, with respect to only information on emergencies.

According to him, the information on emergencies, include: national security, fire, notifications on network maintenance programmes down times and notification regarding subscribers’ bundle usage and service renewals.

“Other text messages and voice calls informing subscribers of new products and service offerings are not regarded as ‘Network-Generated’ and, therefore, regarded as “unsolicited marketing messages’’.

“NCC has therefore, asked these network providers to ensure that information on the Do Not Disturb service should be disseminated after every revenue-generating activity via the End of Call Notification (EOCN).

“For the period not less than 45 days, within the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, from the receipt of the latest letter on the subject.

“The operators are also admonished to deploy this information through all their channels of communications, including websites, social media platforms, billboards, flash messages, text messages, Interactive Voice Response platform, radio jingles, newspapers advertisements and television commercials,’’ he said.

The director said that this notice served as a pre-enforcement notice, adding that failure to comply with it would attract appropriate sanctions.

He said the menace of unsolicited text messages had been a nightmare to subscribers. Ojobo said that the commission could no longer accept further excuses from network providers.

Shareholders fume as CBN suspends MTN’s dividend payout.

Shareholders have reacted sharply to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s order on the suspension of MTN Group’s dividend payment from its Nigerian subsidiary, MTN Nigeria, over an alleged illegal repatriation of funds to South Africa.

The shareholders, who spoke yesterday, faulted the move, insisting that dividend that has been declared must be paid.

The South African telecoms giant in a quarterly update to its shareholders, yesterday, in Johannesburg, South Africa, claimed that it was not guilty of the illegal repatriation charges levelled against it by the Nigerian Senate.

The CBN had ordered the four commercial banks operated by MTN to suspend dividend payout from Nigeria. The banks are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank and Citi Bank. But CBN Spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, said yesterday that he was not aware of the order.

The crux of the allegation is that MTN did not obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency in Nigeria within a 24-hour deadline stipulated in a 1995 law and therefore the repatriation of returns on those investments was illegal.

MTN runs the biggest wireless phone network in Nigeria, which generates a third of its annual sales. The telecoms firm had this year, agreed to pay a reduced fine of N330 billion ($1.08 billion) to end a long-running dispute over unregistered SIM cards in Nigeria.

The South African firm has also delayed its long-awaited listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), and no explanations from the firm or the exchange for the delay.

Shares in the company have fallen by more than 14 per cent to their lowest level in more than six years since the latest issue surfaced on September 27.

But shareholders, who spoke on the development, criticised the CBN’s decision as high-handed, considering that the dividend is shareholders’ benefits from their investment.

The President, Renaissance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Timothy Olufemi, described the suspension of the dividend as ‘uncalled for,’ noting that dividend declared is a debt that must be paid by the firm.

“Well, the accusation may be due to payment of cash dividend to foreign shareholders in dollars without due approvals. But, we do not see any reason for the suspension of cash dividend if not that they have done something wrong. It is uncalled for. Dividend must be paid when declared. It is a debt,” he said.

The President, Ibadan Zone, Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sola Abodunrin, said: “If the dividend has been declared in an annual general meeting, MTN has no right to suspend it. The investigation that is going on is a different thing entirely. A dividend that has been declared must be paid.”

Similarly, the President, Constance Shareholders Association, Shehu Mallam Mikail, who explained that MTN has no right to suspend shareholders’ dividend, noted that the telecoms giant is making profit and getting good returns from Nigeria.

He urged the regulatory authorities to ensure that multinationals operating in Nigeria complied with the rules so as to protect investors’ rights.

Mikail noted that “The illegal transfers do not concern the issue of dividend payout and MTN can only fish out those concerned in the transfer saga and it should not stop the payment of dividend to shareholders because it is an investment.”

According to the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olushola Teniola, the CBN cannot stop a legally registered company from declaring dividends or making dividend payments, unless there is evidence of criminal activity or a court order stipulates this in rare cases.

But the President, Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sola Abodunrin, believed the suspension should not affect MTN from listing next year as planned.

According to him, the agreement to list was part of conditions given when they were negotiating a reduction in their fine, “so as a responsible company, I do not think they will renege. Many Nigerians are looking forward to their listing.”

Timothy Olufemi, however, believed strongly that the suspension would affect MTN’s listing next year.

The South African telecoms firm in the letter to its shareholders, confirmed that “MTN Nigeria, four commercial banks, certain MTN Nigeria directors and shareholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria and others appeared before the Senate on October 20, 2016 at the outset of this investigation.

“The allegations are that $13.97 billion was repatriated illegally by MTN Nigeria through its bankers. MTN Nigeria and its bankers are cooperating with the investigation with a view to resolving the matter as expeditiously as possible.

“In the interim, the CBN has instructed the banks to suspend any remittance of dividends until further notice. MTN Nigeria continues to refute the allegations that MTN Nigeria had improperly repatriated funds from Nigeria.

“Consequently, MTN Nigeria will strongly defend any action that would be prejudicial to its interest. MTN Nigeria has no intention to make any dividend payments over the next six months.”

Senator Dino Melaye blew the lid that MTN in connivance with the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and four commercial banks exploited the Nigerian financial system to illegally move $13.97 billion out of the country without the required authorisation.

Meanwhile, the embattled telecommunications firm has revealed that its new chief executive will take over three months ahead of plan.
Vodafone European boss, Rob Shuter, was due to start in July next year but MTN said in a statement accompanying its quarterly update that he would now start on March 13, 2017.

South Africa-born Shuter, a banker with risk management background, will inherit a company that is the subject of a parliamentary investigation in Nigeria on whether it unlawfully repatriated $13.97 billion between 2006 and 2016.

MTN Denies Illegal Transfer Of $14 bn From Nigeria

South Africa’s MTN has denied it illegally transferred $13.9 billion from Nigeria in the latest scandal to hit the telecom firm in its largest market in the continent.

The Johannesburg-based firm is facing a parliamentary probe over accusations it connived with senior Nigerian officials to move the funds out of the country without complying with the law.

“We would like to reiterate that at no point did MTN Nigeria (MTNN) illegally repatriate funds out of Nigeria or collaborate with Nigerians to loot the external reserves of the country,” Ferdinand Moolman, the chief executive officer of MTNN told the Senate hearing in Abuja on Thursday.“MTNN is a Nigerian company and is proud to be conducting business in Nigeria. It therefore categorically refutes any accusations of money laundering, economic sabotage or tax evasion levied against it,” he added.

Moolman said all monies repatriated by the company were in respect of dividend payments and capital divestment originating from legitimate foreign direct investment.

“The dividend payments were made to shareholders who imported foreign capital for investment in MTNN,” he said.

Moolman also exonerated Nigeria’s Trade and Investment Minister Okechukwu Elenemah from the alleged capital flight.

“We would like to state that Dr Elenemah has never been a director or shareholder of MTNN,” he said, adding that the minister had not connived with the company to move funds out of Nigeria.

The parliamentary probe followed a motion last month by Dino Melaye, a senator from central Kogi state which called for MTN to be investigated over the alleged illegal transfers.

Four local banks were alleged to have been used to move the funds with the help of the trade minister.

The probe is the latest setback to hit MTN in Nigeria.

The firm was last year slammed with a $3.9 billion fine for failing to cut off 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, amid fears that some of the affected lines were being used by Boko Haram insurgents.

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FRCN blames CBN for illegal transfer of MTN’s $13.9bn.

The Senate on Thursday began its investigative hearing on the alleged transfer of $13.9bn by MTN Nigeria out of the country illegally.

The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, in its presentation, blamed the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, for any irregularities in the matter.

The Executive Secretary, FRCN, Mr. Jim Obaze, blamed the CBN for the continuous depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves.

Nigeria foreign reserves, which stood rose to $30.2bn in July 2015 from $29.9bn it was in May 2015, is now $24.2bn, according to the CBN’s financial report of last month.

Blaming the apex bank for the continued drop, Obaze stated that the problem was caused by poor and weak accountability by the regulator.

According to him, as long as cash inflow and outflow are not matched by the regulator, problem of foreign reserves depletion will always occur.

He noted that the regulator had a critical role to play in checking the excesses of all operators.

The FRCN boss called for a review of the law regulating financial institutions and multinational companies operating in the country, which, he said, would make the FRCN to discharge its responsibilities more efficiently and effectively.

Obaze said, “The short answer to it is very poor weak accountability and regulatory practice in Nigeria. The regulatory agencies are not working but if they are working definitely a lot of these infractions will not occur.

“You cannot have the security personnel at your gate who has suddenly left the gate opened and then you said somebody stole your assets and you can’t find them.

“The regulatory agencies after all their submissions will definitely find their role in all of them because there are laws that they are supposed to protect.

“If you are not protecting them, then definitely some openings like this where you see this depletion.”

Nigerian minister, accused of colluding with MTN, denies allegations.

The Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has denied any involvement in the alleged illegal repatriation of over $13 billion by telecom giant, MTN.

Mr. Enelamah was accused of collaborating with MTN to take the money out of Nigeria.

In his letter to the Senate committee investigating the allegations, Mr. Enelamah denied any involvement in the alleged repatriation.

In the letter HMITI/GEN.CORR./VOL.1/, dated October 7, Mr. Enelamah said that he was never involved with MTN as he had never been a director of the company.

He said he had neither had any engagement with the company nor earned dividends.

“I was never owner of Celtelecom Investment Limited or a shareholder in Celtelecom as recorded on pages 402 and 403 of the Votes and Proceedings of the Senate of Tuesday, September 27.

“Between 1998 and 2015, I served as the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Alliance, a wholly owned subsidiary of African Capital Alliance (ACA), an investment company.

“Two funds managed by ACA together with some individuals and entities invested in MTN with Celtelecom as the investment vehicle; I served as a director in Celtelecom representing the ACA management fund.

“I have never claimed that I invested in MTN neither did I obtain a Certificate of Capital Importation on 7th February 2008; the investment by Celtelecom in MTN was made in 2001.

“The Form A dated 7th February 2008 that I signed in my capacity as a director of Celtelecom was to enable the processing of payments due from the sale of part of its shares in MTN.

“This is evidenced by the letter to IBTC Chartered Bank Plc dated 7 February 2008,” he said.

He urged the Senate to note that investors do not have responsibility for the remittance of proceeds from the company they invested in.

“So at no time was I ever in the position to transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN and at no time did I transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN,” he said.

An investigation by the Senate into the allegations continues on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Rufai Ibrahim, said his committee had hired international and local forensic experts to assist in the investigation

Mr. Ibrahim said that the experts had arrived Nigeria and were already working with other local forensic experts to uncover any hidden details from the documents that had been submitted.

“The Senate sees this as very important, it is a weighty allegation and we are going to deal with a lot of documents spanning 16 years,” he said.

MTN, Air France-KLM, offer 25 per cent airfare discount.

Leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria, has joined hands with premium airline company, Air France – KLM, to package an unbeatable offer of up to 25% discount on Business class tickets to London.

The partnership between MTN Nigeria and Air France-KLM will offer this discount from October to December 2016. In addition, customers will enjoy free incoming calls on the MTN network while outside the country.

Commenting on the partnership, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN, Richard Iweanoge, said, “The partnership was conceived towards rewarding our current Platinum customers at this time. This is one of MTN’s ways of supporting its loyal customers as they engage in their regular travel for different purposes.”

Iweanoge added, “The goal of our partnership with Air France-KLM is to add value to our customers. Air France-KLM and MTN are two companies that place a high premium on customers and with the Yuletide drawing near, there is no better deal for business travelers, tourists and holiday seekers than this offer.”

Speaking on the partnership, Commercial Director, Air France-KLM, Nigeria and Ghana, Arthur Dieffenthaler, said: “We share a bank of loyal customers who frequently use both our products not only in Nigeria but also abroad. Roaming outside Nigeria, they need to know that we care, that is why we decided to create an unbeatable offer for the end consumer.”

On how the loyalty offering will run, Dieffenthaler went on to reveal that the customers who intend to take up this offer will receive a special code from MTN as a unique identifier and send travel plans to a dedicated Air France KLM email address – quoting the unique code, amongst other information. Air France will then send a confirmation response to the customer, advising on travel itinerary and giving details of the discounted price. Once payment is effected, an e-ticket is issued to the customer.

The period of purchase of the tickets runs from the 14th to 31st October 2016; while tickets remain valid till the end of December, which means that beneficiary customers must travel and return before 31 December 2016.

MTN has NOT yet acquired Visafone’s licence, says NCC.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says telecommunications firm MTN has not yet acquired Visafone’s licence — despite contrary reports in the media.

Tony Ojobo, NCC’s director of public affairs, made this known in a statement on Tuesday.

It was reported in January that the MTN group had concluded the acquisition of Visafone after “receiving” the final approval of the federal government.

It was thought that NCC approved the deal in the last quarter of 2015. However, Ojobo clarified on Tuesday what had been approved was only the transfer of the shareholding structure — not transfer of licence.

“A decision to transfer Visafone licence to MTN has not yet been taken. What has been approved in the transaction is 100% shareholding not licence,” he said.

“NCC final approval to the changes in shareholding of Visafone Communications was taken by virtue of section 38 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003.

“Section 38 of the Act states that ‘the grant of a licence shall be personal to the licencee and the licence shall not be operated by, assigned, sub-licenced or transferred to any other party unless the prior written approval of the Commission has been granted’.

“This is contrary to the speculation in a section of the media that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the regulatory agency for telecommunication, had foreclosed the release of the spectrum held by Visafone to MTN.

“This clarification has become necessary in order to allay the fears in some quarters that the frequency had been withheld by the Commission.”

Ojobo reiterated that the commission had yet to meet to take a decision on the application by Visafone to transfer its licence to MTN.

“The NCC has only approved the shareholding structure by 100% and not transfer of licene,” he said.

Specifically, Visafone Communications Limited with a Universal Access Service Licence (UASL) – deploying Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology – applied to the NCC for an approval to effect a change in its shareholding structure by transferring 100% of its shares to MTN Nigeria.

“Having met all the preliminary requirements for grant of approval for change in shareholding structure, the NCC, in line with its established procedure, granted an Approval-In-Principle to Visafone Communications Limited, subject to fulfillment of conditions to transfer 100% of its shares to MTN Nigeria.

“Having fulfilled the conditions stipulated in the “Approval-In-Principle”, the NCC, in line with its procedure granted a “Final-Approval” to Visafone for the change in its shareholding structure.

“Thereafter, Visafone applied for approval to transfer its licence to MTN.  The NCC has written to Visafone, clearly stating that a decision was yet to be taken on the transfer of Visafone licence to MTN.”

Senate rejects MTN bid to sack workers

The Senate said Wednesday that it would reject moves by Mobile Telephone Network, MTN, to sack Nigerians working in the telecommunication industry without recourse to global rules and practices.

Speaking to journalists today, when confronted with media report that MTN Nigeria Limited recently sacked over five hundred staff, Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, said, ” as the representatives of the people we cannot fold our alms and watch our constituents being oppressed by employers of labour.

We cannot in any way tolerate such. At the same time, we shall ensure that our foreign investors are not unduly threatened. When my attention was drawn to this ugly development I immediately contacted the Managing Director of the company.”

Although he said that facts were somehow misrepresented in the report he still admitted that it was only the short-term contract staff who work in the call centres that were affected.

He said, “I then let him know that it would be proper for him to review the action especially in view of the biting economy in the country. It is only when that option fails that the committee and by extension, Senate, would take a position to protect our people”.

“MTN has since denied the report. This is the second time in one week that the South African telecoms giant making public denial.

“Just last Wednesday it denied an allegation that it had illegally repatriated 13.92 billion dollars from Nigeria, saying the claim was without merit.”

Senate tackles MTN over reported sack of Nigerians

The Senate on Tuesday said it would not condone a situation where Nigerians working in the telecommunications industry are sacked without recourse to the global labour rules and practices.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Gilbert Nnaji spoke in Abuja while reacting to report that MTN Nigeria Limited recently sacked over five hundred staff.

He said, “As the representatives of the people we cannot fold our arms and watch our constituents being relieved of their jobs indiscriminately by employers of labour.

“We cannot in any way tolerate such. At the same time, we shall also ensure that our foreign investors are not unduly threatened.

“When my attention was drawn to this ugly development, I immediately contacted the Managing Director of the company.

“Although he said that facts were somehow misrepresented in the report, he still admitted that it was only the short-term contract staff who work in the call centres that were affected.

“I then let him know that it would be proper for him to review the action especially in view of the biting economic situation in the country.

“It is only when that option fails that the committee and by extension, Senate, would take a position to protect our people.”

MTN has, however, denied the reported sack.

MTN Allegedly Lays Off Over 4000 Contract Staff

MTN Nigeria laying off Contract Staff without been paid their full salary. No gratuity, no pension, no thank you mail to people who have spent at least 5 years to like 14 years of their life.

They did the worst last week by telling them to do photocopy of their ID cards and return the main ID’S with the staff left with a sheet of paper without been paid and still expected to work. They also harassed the contract staffs searching them with mobile police armed with guns as if they are criminals. This is outright injustice.

No mails communicated yet on the mode of payment for the 15days they worked as their salary is been calculated from 15th of previous month to 16th of present month, but the remaining days of 16th- 30th September is not paid with their leave days remaining and also unpaid leaves.

We call on concerns Nigerians and appropriate authorities to help them fight these course.

MTN denies paying bribe to reduce NCC fine

South Africa’s MTN denied it paid a bribe to Nigerian officials to reduce its fine to 330 billion naira ($1.05bn) as part of settling a dispute over disconnecting unregistered SIM cards in the West African country.


MTN said in a statement on Friday there had been allegations that a top official in the Nigerian presidency took a payment towards reducing the fine.


The telecom group was initially fined $5.2bn last October for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards.


In June, MTN agreed to pay a reduced fine of 330 billion in a settlement with the Nigerian government and said the fine will be paid by MTN Nigeria over three years.

SAHARA REPORTERS: How Buhari’s COS, Abba Kyari Took N500m Bribe To Help MTN Reduce Fine

President Muhammad Buhari has received concrete evidence that his Chief of Staff (CoS), Abba Kyari, took N500m from operators of MTN to help the telecommunications giant mitigate the fine imposed on it by the federal government, SaharaReporters has learned.


Sources say the evidence was presented to President Buhari several times including during the Sallah holiday.


The mind-boggling revelation is the latest in the mounting allegations of corruption involving members of the top echelon of President Buhari’s administration.


Confronted with the evidence, the CoS reportedly claimed he was helping the All Progressives Congress party raise funds for the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State, to which the president is said to have asked him if he was the party chairman, but did not relieve him of his post.


SaharaReporters has previously revealed several corrupt actions of the Chief of Staff.  They include taking money from Jide Omokore, a shady businessman who was massively involved in corruption in the oil sector in the preceding administration.


Following acceptance of the money, Mr. Kyari reportedly took Mr. Omokore twice to meet President Buhari to enable the businessman to make a promise to refund some of the funds.  A source told Saharareporters Omokore promised to refund N500 million


When Omokore was eventually arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the CoS reportedly told President Buhari that it was the EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, who had bungled progress concerning Omokore.  SaharaReporters has also previously reported that Mr. Kyari wants to remove Magu from the anti-graft body in favor of a candidate who is more amenable to his wishes.


On his part, Omokore is also known to have bribed the judge handling the case with $2million.  He was released on bail without leaving the court premises.


Other members of President Buhari’s inner circle have been exposed as engaging in serious cases of corruption but the President has not acted on their cases, either.  In some instances, they reportedly got members of President Buhari’s office to absolve them of any “wrongdoing”.


Among others:


The Chief of Army Staff, Yusuf Buratai, was found to have used Nigerian Army funds to purchase homes in Dubai;
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Abdulrahman Dambazau, bought homes for millions of dollars in Boston in the United States;

Several other aides and officials within the government have been exposed for involvement in illegal employments and forgery of age and certificates.


As in the case of Mr. Kyari, they have so far all been shielded by President Buhari.  Speaking earlier this to journalists in Daura, his hometown, the president said his “anti-corruption war” was being implemented on the basis of justice and fairness.


Source: Sahara Reporters

MTN Terminates Contract With Don Jazzy, Davido & Tiwa

Telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria, on Friday terminated its contract with Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage and Davido among others.


Following the development, the management has also released the names of it’s 2016/2017 celebrity ambassadors to include Praiz, Chidinma, Iyanya, Tekno, Falz and more.


The termination and release of new signees was made public through the press release by the management saying: “In line with its commitment to supporting Nigerian musicians by providing alternative platforms through which they can receive lucrative value for their intellectual property, MTN has announced brand ambassadors for 2016-2017.


Music ambassadors for 2016-2017 are: Praiz (Praise Adejo); Iyanya (Iyanya Mbuk);Chidinma(Chidinma Ekile); Falz (Folarin Falana); Tekno Miles (Augustine Kelechi) andSkales (Raoul Njeng-Njeng)

Four other ambassadors are – Saka, (Hafiz Oyetoro); Nedu (Steve Onu); Osuofia (NkemOwoh) and Adamu Zango.


MTN Executive, Amina Oyagbola, spoke on the new developments. “MTN remains proud to be associated with the growth and development of the careers of all our ambassadors, past and present,” she said.


We specially thank all our former ambassadors for their immense contributions to building our brand and also making us the network of choice in Nigeria. We will definitely continue to maintain the strong and mutually beneficial relationship with them through the monetisation of their content on all our digital platforms – MTN Music+, CRBT and VAS.”

MTN Blames NCC Fine For First Trading Loss

MTN Group recorded its first-ever earnings per share (EPS) loss as a publicly traded company — which it blamed on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the N330 billion fine slammed on its Nigerian operation last year.
In a statement released on Thursday, MTN said it would announce the half year results on Friday, but it gave shareholders a heads-up on the coming loss.
“Following the trading statement published on 19 July 2016, shareholders are further advised that MTN expects to report for HY2016 a basic headline loss per share of between 285 cents and 255 cents and a basic loss per share of between 315 cents and 285 cents,” MTN said.
“In the prior year comparable period MTN reported headline earnings per share of 654 cents and earnings per share of 653 cents.”
MTN highlighted the factors that negatively impacted its earnings, prime of which was the Nigerian fine.
“The Nigerian regulatory fine which had a material impact on results for the period. The income statement charge reflects the present value of the balance outstanding at 10 June 2016 of N280 billion (USD1,418 billion, using the exchange rate prevailing at the time), reduced by the reversal of the provision made in December 2015 of Naira 119,6 billion (USD 600 million, using the exchange rate prevailing at the time),” it said.
“In total, the net effect of the Nigerian regulatory fine on the current period was a negative impact of 474 cents per share (cps).
“MTN Nigeria’s performance was impacted by the disconnection of 4.5 million subscribers in February 2016, the final batch of subscribers to be disconnected in compliance with the Nigerian Communications Commission subscriber registration requirements. The withdrawal of regulatory services which were re-instated on March 15, 2016 with approval for promotions and price plans granted in early May 2016 is also negatively impacting MTN Nigeria’s performance.”
MTN blamed other losses on the depreciation of the rand and operating currencies against the USD, and hyperinflation on MTN Irancell.

Credit: Sun

MTN Agrees To Pay Nigerian $1.7 Billion Fine

South African telecoms giant MTN said Friday it would pay a $1.7 billion fine to the Nigerian government in a “full and final settlement” over its failure to disconnect unregistered mobile phone users.

The company said in a statement that “MTN Nigeria has agreed to pay a total cash amount of Naira 330 billion over three years.”

Africa’s biggest wireless operator was fined $3.9 billion last year and has since been in negotiations with the government over the payout.

Credit: AFP

Confusion Over MTN’s Payment Of N50bn Fine To FG

There was a mild drama yesterday when the Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu, distanced the ministry from the negotiation deal which culminated in the payment of N50bn by MTN Nigeria Limited instead of N1.04trn fine imposed on the telecommunications giant by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for SIM deactivation defaults.

Also, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), denied entering any agreement so far with MTN over the fine.

The revelations were made yesterday before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Telecommunications on the heels of the payment of N50bn by MTN to the Federal Government as against as the actual fine imposed on it by the NCC.

The Committee had summoned both ministers, the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Garba Dambatta, and the chief executive officer of MTN over the circumstances surrounding the payment of N50bn by MTN and an alleged offensive letter earlier written to the lawmakers by the MTN CEO.

But the MTN CEO earlier apologised to the committee members and consequently withdrawn the letter as demanded by the lawmakers.

“I will like to say categorically that MTN and I takes this body in high esteem. And I apologise wholeheartedly for not attending the previous meeting. I withdraw the letter the committee is referring to. I beg for your forgiveness,” he said.

For his part, Shittu told the lawmakers that he only got to know about the matter through a letter dated February 3, 2016 addressed to him, Finance Minister and the Accountant-General of the Federation on the settlement proposal by MTN.

Credit: Leadership

NCC Lifts Sanction On MTN Nigeria

Mr Tony Ojobo, the Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said on Wednesday that the commission had lifted the sanction placed on MTN Nigeria since July 13, 2015.


Ojobo said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the regulatory sanctions were for 24 identified infractions.


It said that the lifting of the regulatory sanction was in no way related to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card non-deactivation fine.

“This is to confirm that NCC has lifted the regulatory sanctions placed on MTN since July 13, 2015.

“The sanctions were for 24 identified infractions which are not in any way connected with the SIM card non-deactivation fine.

“These were a number of violations discovered by the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Team of the commission in June 2015.

“Consequent upon the inability of MTN to remedy the identified infractions, the commission invoked the sanction in its guidelines,’’ the statement quoted Ojobo as saying.


It said that the sanction meant the denial of regulatory services to the telecommunications company for failing to remedy the infractions in line with NCC’s regulations.


According to the statement, consequent upon the remediation of the 24 infractions by MTN, the regulatory body’s letter of March 14, 2016, informed the company of its decision to lift the regulatory sanction.


“It should be noted that this does not in any way extend to the fine for non-deactivation of SIM card case.

“The case of SIM card deactivation is an entirely different infraction, which is mutually exclusive to the 24 infractions now remedied.

“This has become necessary in view of the many enquiries being received from concerned stakeholders.
“This action is without prejudice to the matter which is presently in court. Please be guided accordingly,’’ it quoted Ojobo as saying.



MTN N50bn Fine: Senate Accuses Malami Of Having Ulterior Motive

The Senate has accused the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami,of having ulterior motive in the payment of N50 billion by MTN, as part of fine imposed on it by the Federal Government for failure to deactivate 5.2 million unregistered subscribers on its network.


The red chamber queried the intentions of the Attorney-General in unilaterally opening a special new account with a name that had no correlations with the issue at hand and then ordering MTN to credit same, despite the existence of Treasury Single Account, TSA.


To this end, the Senate, through its Committee on Communications, has vowed to launch immediate probe into the matter, with a view to unraveling all those behind the act and their intentions.


Speaking,yesterday, in Abuja, the committee’s chairman, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, said the red chamber had resolved to unmask those behind the payment of N50 billion by the Mobile Telecommunication Network,MTN.


Nnaji said the Senate was interested in knowing why MTN was directed to pay the money into a recovery account instead of routing it through the regulatory agency, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

Credit : Vanguard

MTN Proposes To Pay N300b To Settle NCC Fine

MTN Group Ltd. has proposed to pay 300 billion naira ($1.5 billion) to settle a record $3.9 billion fine in Nigeria for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers, according to a document handed to reporters in the Nigerian Senate. Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company made the offer in order to settle a dispute that has been running since the fine was first imposed by Nigerian regulators in October.

The country’s Senate Committee on Communications met to discuss the matter on Thursday and concluded that the negotiations with MTN must continue with the involvement of Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu. MTN shares have declined more than 23 percent since the fine was made public on Oct 26, valuing the Johannesburgbased company at 272 billion rand ($17.6 billion).

The penalty was imposed for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million subscribers deemed by the government to be improperly registered in the country that’s battling security issues including Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency. MTN’s management, the Nigerian Communications Commission and Shittu must report back to the Senate in two weeks with the outcome of discussions, according to the committee.

Credit: DailyTimes

MTN’s Inaction Aided Boko Haram- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday spoke publicly for the first time on the $5.2bn fine imposed on MTN Group by the Nigerian Communications Commission, saying the concern of his government is not about the penalty but on the security implication of the telecommunication firm’s inaction.

The firm was sanctioned by the regulatory agency for failing to register some SIM cards.

Buhari spoke while answering a question during a joint press conference he addressed alongside visiting South African President, Jacob Zuma, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President explained that because members of the Boko Haram sect were using unregistered SIM cards, MTN contributed to the casualties recorded by the sect because of its inaction.

He said, “The concern of the Federal Government was basically on the security and not the fine imposed on MTN.

“You know how the unregistered GSM (SIM cards) are being used by terrorists and between 2009 and today, at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram, at least 10,000.

“That was why the NCC asked MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM subscribers.
“Unfortunately, MTN was very very slow and contributed to the casualties. And NCC looked at its regulations and imposed the fine.”

He said that was why his government left the NCC and security agencies to handle the matter in their own way.

Buhari added that unfortunately for the telecommunication firm, rather than negotiating the fine or the mode of payment, it dragged the Federal Government to court.

He said the country’s constitution stipulates that no further action should be taken on any issue that is a subject of litigation.

Buhari said now that MTN had decided to withdraw the case from court, it is free to go back to the relevant government agencies to see if the fine can be reduced and paid in installments.

Credit: Punch

Why FG Accepted N50bn Down Payment From MTN —AGF

The Federal Government, yesterday, cleared the air on why it accepted N50 billion down payment of the N780 billion fine the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, slammed on MTN.


The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said that the money was accepted from MTN as a demonstration of good faith and willingness to enter into discussion with the government on the payment of the fine imposed on the firm.


The minister, who confirmed that the telecoms company had withdrawn the case it instituted against the Federal Government, further affirmed that the two sides were ready for dialogue.


Malami said that unknown to many, the government had insisted that the company paid a reasonable part of the fine before it could open discussion with it.


“It was after we had confirmed that the company had deposited the N50 billion in a Federal Government recovery account that we granted them audience over the matter. I can also confirm that the case the company instituted against us has been withdrawn. “The meaning of what has been done is that we have agreed to grant them audience. The matter is being considered and whatever is to be done will be made known to Nigerians and will be done in the overall interest of the country and nothing more,” Malami said.


The minister spoke just as the Senate summoned him to explain the decision to allow MTN to pay what it considered ‘a paltry sum’ of the huge fine slammed on it into a Federal Government recovery account, thereby sidelining the NCC.


But Malami made it clear that there was no underhand deal in relation to the ongoing discussion between the Federal Government and MTN. The minister said whatever was to be done would be guided by public policy and public interest.



Credit : Vanguard

Copyright Infringement: MTN Loses Bid To Stop Trial

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday held that MTN Nigeria and its Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, must face trial over alleged copyright infringements, notwithstanding settlement with a complainant.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave the ruling in an application filed by an Abuja based musician, Dovie Omenuwoma-Eniwo (a.k.a. Baba 2010) seeking a withdrawal of his complaint against MTN over alleged copyright infringement on his works.


It will be recalled that the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) had filed a two-count-charge against MTN and Moolman flowing from the petition by Baba 2010.


However, following settlement and restitution by MTN over the infringement, Baba 2010 had asked for the withdrawal of his petition and the charge against the defendants.


In his decision, the judge held that the complainant had the right to withdraw his petition, but the withdrawal would not vitiate the criminal charge against MTN and Moolman.


“I hold that the withdrawal of the petition cannot per force terminate the criminal trial.

The withdrawal of the petition and perhaps the consent judgment reached by the parties only regulates the parties’ obligations in relation to matters strictly within their control.


The charge before the court relates to criminal proceedings, which is not affected by the civil arrangements reached between the applicant and MTN.


The judge held that the Copyright Act as passed by the National Assembly makes violation of intellectual rights subject of criminal proceedings irrespective of the rights of the copyright owner.


According to him, section 24 of the Act provides that criminal and civil actions can be taken simultaneously in respect of the same infringement under the law.

He said the discretion to prosecute or not was that of the NCC, the appropriate law enforcement agency.


“I hold that in a situation such as the present one where a copyright owner has withdrawn his petition having settled his differences with the alleged violator, the discretion at all events remains that of the prosecution.

“Indeed, it is a settled principle of law that criminal offences are against the state.

“Until the state has exercised its discretion not to prosecute, the settlement between a nominal complainant and the accused person ought not to affect the criminal proceedings,’’ he said.


The judge dismissed the application by Baba 2010 and adjourned until April 11 for the trial of MTN and Moolman.


In a reaction, NCC lawyer and the commission’s Director of Prosecution, Mr Abdul-Ter Kohol, said the ruling was well considered by the court.


Lawyer to Baba 2010, Mr Rockson Igelige, on his part, said they would study the ruling to decide whether or not they would file an appeal.

FG To Investigate MTN’s Payment Claim – Shittu

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, on Wednesday, said the ministry would investigate the claim by South African mobile telecommunication giant, MTN that it has paid 50 billion naira into government’s coffers towards a possible settlement of the dispute with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The minister also said the firm’s claim that it has withdrawn the matter from the court is being investigated by the government.

The Special Assistant on Media Affairs to the Minister, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, told The Nation that government’s position on the matter has been made clear, but MTN went to court for reasons best known to it.

He said: “Government’s position on the issue is sacrosanct, MTN secured 25 percent reduction on the fine imposed by the regulatory body. Suddenly, it proceeded to court to challenge the government. Now we are told they have withdrawn the case from court and have paid 50 billion naira to the government.

“Well, I can tell you on behalf of the Minister of Communications and Technology that we are studying the situation. If it is confirmed that they have withdrawn the case from court and have paid the said amount, then the government would make its position known on the matter.”

MTN Pays $250 Million In Nigeria Fine Dispute

South African telecoms giant MTN said Wednesday it had paid $250 million to the Nigerian government in a dispute over a $3.9-billion fine imposed last year for failing to disconnect unregistered users.

The company also said it had agreed to withdraw its legal challenge over the huge fine in a case that was adjourned in Lagos High Court to enable the two parties to try to negotiate a settlement.

“Pursuant to the ongoing engagement with the Nigerian Authorities, MTN Nigeria has today made a… good faith payment of 50 billion naira ($250 million),” Johannesburg-based MTN said in a statement.

The money was paid “on the basis that this will be applied towards a settlement, where one is eventually, hopefully arrived at,” the statement added.

“In an effort to achieve an amicable settlement, MTN has agreed to withdraw the matter from the Federal High Court in Lagos.”

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is the MTN group’s largest market, where it had more than 62.8 million subscribers by the second quarter of 2015.

MTN was slapped with the penalty in October 2015 after it missed a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards.

Credit: Guardian

NCC vs MTN: Court Fixes March 3 For Ruling

A Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed March 3 to decide whether or not it will try MTN Nigeria and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ferdi Moolman, for alleged copyright infringement.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the date at the Thursday hearing in a charge filed against MTN and Moolman over alleged infringement on copies of the musical works of an Abuja based musician, Dovie Omenuwoma-Eniwo (a.k.a. Baba 2010).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), last year, filed the two-count-charge against MTN and Moolman, sequel to a petition filed by Baba 2010.
However, following a report of settlement between MTN and Baba 2010 over the infringement, their lawyers Mena Ajakpoui and Rockson Igelige had respectively asked for the withdrawal of the charge by NCC.
Lawyer to NCC and the commission’s Director of Prosecution, Mr Abdul-Ter Kohol, however said that the crime had been committed and the restitution provided by the alleged offenders (MTN and Moolman) was not a barrier to their prosecution.
The court therefore adjourned to decide whether or not the compensation paid to Baba 2010 by the accused persons over the alleged infringement was adequate to stop NCC from prosecuting MTN and Moolman.
NAN reports that at the hearing of the case, Igelige moved an application seeking the court order permitting his client (Baba 2010) to withdraw his complaint against the accused persons (MTN and Moolman).
He contended that he filed a civil suit against MTN in another Federal High Court upon which his client amicably and satisfactorily settled with MTN.
He said the NCC did not inform his client before going ahead to file the criminal charge against MTN and its CEO.
Igelige also argued that he did not make any complaint against Moolman, the second accused person in the petition written to NCC.
He argued that with the combined reading of sections 17, 355 (1) and 494 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, his client has the right to withdraw his complaint which would in turn terminate the trial.
Kohol opposed the application contending that “it is misconceived, frivolous and not known to law’’.
He said besides the fact that the applicant did not seek the leave of court before filing the application the statutory parties to criminal trial are the prosecution (NCC) and the accused (MTN Moolman).
The lawyer argued that the applicant, like any other informant of a prosecuting agency, could not withdraw a criminal charge he did not file in court.
Kohol said that section 24 of the NCC establishment Act permits for both criminal and civil actions to be filed and heard simultaneously in copyright infringement cases.
He therefore urged the court to hold that MTN and Moolman had already committed the crime and the restitution made to Baba 2010 cannot assuage their prosecution.




Consumer Protection Council Orders MTN To Pay 1.85m Naira To Promo Winner

CPC has directed MTN Communications Limited to pay 1.85 million Naira to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder Promo for lack of due diligence.

The order of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) came on the heels of a complaint brought by Mr Omeje Fidelis against the mobile telecommunications giant that he had been underpaid after he was declared winner of two million Naira in the said sales promotion held in 2012

According to Omeje, he participated in the promo and was called through MTN line 180 on October 10, 2012, that he had won two million Naira in the Ultimate Wonder Promo and that on October 12 of the same year, he got a text message informing him of the presentation ceremony fixed for October
19 at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The complainant asserted that during the said ceremony, he was presented with a dummy cheque of two million Naira with his name on it while he was interviewed as well as paraded before the media and the world as a winner of the said amount.

He recounted further that he was stunned to receive another call from MTN line 180 on November 2, 2012 that his winning was 150,000 Naira and was thereafter, given a Verve ATM card for that amount.

In its response to the Council’s intervention, MTN denied the claim of Omeje, saying that he was from the on-set informed that his winning was 150,000 Naira and that the complainant deceitfully presented himself when winners in the two million Naira category were called forward on the day of the prize presentation.

The company stated further that Omeje’s antics were discovered at the verification of winners, which was done after the ceremony and he was thereafter, contacted through its 180 line on his misrepresentation pursuant to which he apologised.

But the CPC demanded for the call data of the communications of October 10, 2012, when Omeje was informed of his winnings of 150,000 Naira but MTN failed, refused and neglected to comply with the request made both in 2012 and 2016.

In its orders, the Council frowned at the consistent refusal of MTN to provide “the call data records evidencing details of communication with the complainant”, declaring that “in the absence of this material evidence, which is solely in the possession of the respondent, the CPC must resolve the issue in favour of the complainant”.

It further declared that “the process of the MTN Ultimate Wonder Promotion whereby the verification exercise was conducted after winners were identified, declared and winnings presented publicly is grossly flawed, lacking in transparency, inequitable and apparently calculated to deceive consumers”.

The CPC, on the strength of these observations, directed the MTN to pay within 14 days of receipt of its order, the sum of 1,850,000 Naira “Being the unpaid part of the two million Naira prize won by the complainant in the 2012 MTN Ultimate Wonder Promotion”.

Commenting on the issue, the Council’s Director General, Mrs Dupe Atoki, reaffirmed the obligation of businesses to desist from promos that are not honest, transparent, equitable and faithful or designed to deceive consumers.

Source: FinancialWatchngr

CPC Orders MTN To Pay N1.85m To Subscriber Within 14 Days

The Consumer Protection Council on Wednesday directed MTN Communications Limited to pay within 14 days the sum of N1.85m to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder Promo for lack of due diligence.

The council’s order came on the heels of a complaint brought by Mr. Omeje Fidelis against the telecommunications company alleging that he had been underpaid after he was declared winner of N2m in the said sales promotion, which was held in 2012.

According to Omeje, he participated in the promo and was called through MTN line 180 on October 10, 2012 that he had won N2m in the Ultimate Wonder Promo and that on October 12 of the same year he got a text message informing him of the presentation ceremony fixed for October 19 at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja.

The complainant had claimed that during the said ceremony, he was presented with a dummy cheque of N2m with his name on it, interviewed and paraded before the media and the world as a winner of the said amount.

He recounted further that he was stunned to receive another call from MTN line 180 on November 2, 2012 that his winning was N150,000 and was thereafter given a Verve ATM card for that amount.

MTN, in its response to the Council’s intervention, denied the claim of Omeje, saying that he was from the on-set informed that his winning was N150,000 and that the complainant deceitfully presented himself when winners in the N2m category were called forward on the day of the prize presentation.

The company had stated further that Omeje’s antics was discovered at the verification of winners, which was done after the ceremony and he was thereafter contacted through its 180 line on his misrepresentation pursuant to which he apologized.

Credit: Punch

Etisalat Sues MTN Over Visafone Acquisition

Telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria has sued MTN Nigeria and Visafone Ltd, challenging MTN’s use of the 800megahertz (MHZ) spectrum following the acquisition of Visafone. MTN closed the deal acquiring Visafone in January this year.

A statement released by Etisalat says the suit was filed in order to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time, as it will entrench the dominance of MTN in the retail data services market.

The statement released by Etisalat’s Head of Media, Chineze Amanfo reads in part;

“You will recall that MTN Nigeria was declared dominant by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2013 and remains dominant in the wholesale leased line and retail voice markets. The use of the 800MHz spectrum to deploy broadband services ahead of its competitors, particularly those who prior to MTNs purchase of Visafone, held similar spectrum bands as MTN, will further entrench MTN’s dominance in the Nigerian telecommunications sector”.

MTN Hires Ex-US Attorney General To Challenge $3.9b Fine

MTN Group has hired a former United States Attorney –General, Eric Holder, to help challenge a $3.9 billion fine imposed by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect unregistered users.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday that Holder pleaded with Nigerian officials last month on behalf of MTN.

Africa’s largest mobile phone company was handed a $5.2 billion penalty in October, prompting weeks of lobbying that led to a 25 percent reduction to $3.9 billion, Reuters reported.

MTN, however, was still not prepared to pay the fine and launched a court challenge in December, saying the NCC had no legal grounds to order the penalty.

A judge in Lagos had last month gave MTN until March 18 to reach a settlement on the fine, which equates to more than twice MTN’s annual average capital spending over the past five years.

MTN spokesman, Chris Maroleng, was not immediately available to comment on latest development, Reuters added.

We’re Ready To Settle With NCC —MTN

MTN Nigeria has expressed readiness to settle dispute with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, over the N1.04 trillion fine incurred for non deactivation of some improperly registered subscribers on its network.



The telecom operator said despite being in court with the regulator, its relationship with the NCC remained solid even as it was ready to strengthen it the more.



The company’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Mr Ferdi Moolman, and Corporate Service Executive, Mrs Amina Oyagbola, who addressed newsmen, weekend. expressed confidence in the regulator to steady the ship of the sector by always opening up for reconciliations from stakeholders.



The duo stated that no matter what the outcome of the court cases may be, MTN would still hold the NCC in highest regard.



While Moolman revealed that his company was prepared to go to any length to restore relationship with the NCC, Oyagbola heaped praises on the administration of the regulator, describing it as the most important stakeholder to MTN as far as the industry is concerned.



Disclosing the approach the company would take to restore the regulator’s friendship again, Oyagbola said: ”We have utmost respect for them. The approach of this new team is to correct where we have erred in the past, ensure good business relationship with all stakeholders in the industry. This begins with show of good faith; speaking the truth, to be able to restore and generate more goodwill.”



Corroborating her, Moolman added that part of the reasons MTN felt resolution was imperative, was that the fine amounted to about 95 per cent of the company’s total revenue for a year.



Credit : Vanguard

MTN Nigeria Acquires Visafone, Promises Boost In Broadband Quality

MTN Nigeria on Thursday said that it has completed the acquisition of Visafone, the only surviving Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network in Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.


MTN Executive, Ms Amina Oyagbola made this known in a statement in Lagos.


Oyagbola said that the acquisition of Visafone was in line with a continued commitment by MTN to improve the quality of broadband services for its subscribers.


She said that the acquisition, which sought to leverage resources for service enhancement, was also reflective of the company’s concerted efforts to deepen the growth and roll out of broadband services across the country.


According to her, the acquisition of the CDMA network is in support of the National Broadband Plan, for the benefit of Nigerians.


”We are committed to exploring avenues for meeting our customers’ increasing data needs in line with our vision ‘to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers’.



”As we work to maximise our data capabilities towards achieving broadband of international quality, our objective is to ensure that Nigerians experience a boost in the quality of broadband internet services.


”This will translate to the much needed enhanced data speeds and value to enhance personal and business productivity.


”The acquisition of Visafone highlights MTN’s commitment to Nigeria. More capacity will facilitate enhanced product/service offerings and experience in the data space to the delight of our valued customers.


”Voice is still King. However, data is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives and our energies are focused on enhancing data and internet services to the benefit of our customers and the country at large,” she said.



NAN reports that Visafone is one of the leading CDMA/ICT companies in Nigeria, offering a number of services, which include voice, high speed data (3G), internet and other Value Added Services (VAS).


Visafone also provides business solutions to small and medium sized companies and corporate organisations in Nigeria.


NAN also gathered that over 2,000 employees of Visafone were disengaged with effect from Jan 5 and were paid three months salaries as severance package.



The only employees said to been left are those in the personnel and transmission departments.




MTN To Retrain Visafone Staff For 4GLTE Rollout

There are fresh indications that a good number of staff of Visafone, the leading Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile technology operator may not be sacked after all. This is because they will be re-trained to have the requisite skills for roll out of the new 4G LTE (Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution) technology in the country.

Visafone, which was acquired by telecommunication giants, MTN Nigeria, is expected to provide the GSM giant the robust voice and data platform of Visafone and cater for booming internet population of Nigeria. It was gathered that staff of Visafone are likely to commence the retraining immediately ahead of the launch of the new data service.

The aggressive launch of 4G LTE services by the merged entity of MTN and Visafone is also expected to drive the broadband penetration in the country from under 10 per cent now to the targeted 30 per cent by 2018 as per the national broadband plan of the Federal Government and help meet the national broadband plan targets.

Credit: Leadership

Dismiss MTN’s Suit Against NCC, Lawyer Tells Court

A Lagos lawyer, Mr Tope Alabi, has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss MTN Nigeria’s suit against the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

He said that the N1.04trillion fine imposed on MTN was in order, adding that the telecoms firm has no reasonable case against NCC.

According to Alabi, granting MTN’s reliefs will result in “people breaking one law and hiding under another law to escape liability.”

MTN is urging court to quash the $3.9billion sanction imposed on it by NCC in October for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers. The initial fine of $5.2billion was reduced by 25 per cent to $3.9billion earlier this month. The payment deadline has expired.

But MTN through its lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, is challenging NCC’s powers to impose the fine. It argued that NCC being a regulator cannot assume all the functions of the state.

However, Alabi, in an application seeking to be joined as an interested party, said MTN’s suit was an abuse of court process that must not be tolerated.

The lawyer said for over three years, NCC had directed all service providers to register their SIM cards already sold and in circulation. He said he duly registered his line sometime in 2012 and MTN called him in 2013 to obtain further information towards completing the registration.

“The first defendant (NCC) gave time limit for all subscribers to register their SIM cards. The time limit was also extended repeatedly. The plaintiff was in default to register 5,200,000 subscribers

“The plaintiff could register all the 5,200,000 subscribers SIMs in default within the time limit and extended time given by the first defendant. I believe other service providers such as Airtel, GLO, Etisalat, Starcomm strictly complied with the first defendant’s directives without defaulting; except the plaintiff.

“The plaintiff never denied it defaulted in registration of the 5,200,000 subscribers. The fine imposed on the plaintiff by the first defendant is in order. The suit of the plaintiff with reliefs sought therein will encourage a culture of impunity in Nigeria.

“The law under which the plaintiff is subjected to liability is justice-able and valid. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application for the applicant to defend this suit within the purview of the law,” Alabi said.

Alabi prayed the court to grant his application so that he could prove that MTN has no reasonable cause of action against NCC, and that granting MTN’s prayers will encourage a culture of impunity in Nigeria “whereby people would do all kinds of illegal and unlawful acts and get away with it so long as they can secure legal service to escape liability.”

NCC May Enforce N780bn Fine On MTN As Deadline Expires Today

As the December 31 deadline expires today, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may enforce payment of the N780billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria, a source close to the commission has said.

NCC is prepared to enforce payment of its $3.9 billion fine against South African telecoms giant MTN, a spokesman for the NCC told an online agency yesterday.

The deadline over the payment of the fine imposed on the MTN expires today.

But the MTN has filed suit in the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking to quash the fine. MTN’s view is that the court case has delayed payment of the fine until there is a ruling.

But that is not the view of the NCC.

“If the MTN doesn’t pay the fine by tomorrow (today), the NCC will enforce the fine in line with relevant provisions of the NCC Act. The fact that they have gone to court doesn’t affect the fact that they have a fine hanging on their neck. These are two separate issues,” the source said.

Credit: Leadership

Radio Biafra Transmitters Installed On MTN Masts —FG

The Federal Government has said the transmitters for Radio Biafra, which has been accused of spreading secessionist agenda and campaigning for the carving out of a Biafra Republic from Nigeria, were found to be installed on MTN masts in Enugu and Anambra states.

According to the Federal Government, the installation of the transmitters on the telecommunications company’s masts was to ensure wider coverage for the radio.

The headquarters of the radio station is “presumably in London.”

This is contained in the government’s case summary of the fresh six counts of treason and other ancillary offences instituted against the founder of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and two others, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

One of the two other defendants in the six counts filed by the Federal Government is a field maintenance engineer, David Nwawuisi, charged with the responsibility of maintaining the MTN masts in Enugu State.

The other defendant, Benjamin Madubugwu, was said to be living in Ubilisiuzo, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, where he allegedly received custody of a container housing transmitters from Kanu.

On December 23, during the accused persons’ appearance in court for their scheduled arraignment, Kanu refused to take his plea due to what he called his lack of confidence in the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed.

The judge promptly returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for reassignment to another judge and the three accused persons were returned to the custody of the Department of State Services.

The fresh charges were filed against the three men barely 24 hours after Justice Adeniyi Ademola, in a ruling on Kanu’s bail application on December 17, ordered his unconditional release from DSS custody, having been detained for about two months without any valid charges filed against him.

The Federal Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Mohammed Diri, who signed the fresh charges, the case summary and other processes accompanying them on behalf of the government, alleged that Nwawuisi installed the transmitters on MTN masts “on request by an IPOB member, Chidibere Onwudiwe.”

Diri added, “The 3rd defendant (Nwawuisi), a Field Maintenance Engineer, charged with the responsibility of maintaining MTN masts in Enugu State, was also arrested in the course of the investigation.

“He agreed, on the request of an IPOB member, who is at large, Chidebere Onwudiwe, to install and did install IPOB radio transmitters on MTN masts for a consideration.”

The prosecution alleged that the transmitters were smuggled into Nigeria by Kanu and were discovered during a search in Madubugwu’s residence.

While Kanu was accused of treasonable felony, management of an unlawful society (IPOB), and smuggling of goods, including radio transmitters, into the country, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi were accused of assisting in the management of the said unlawful group.

The prosecution alleged, in the six counts, that the transmitters were installed on the MTN masts between April and May 2015.

MTN Fine: FG Insists On Dec. 31 Payment Deadline, To Impose Tougher Sanction If Violated

The Federal Government, yesterday, said it would neither be cowed nor threatened by MTN’s court action against the N1.4trn fine which was later reduced to N780 billion, insisting that the telecommunications company risks another fine if it fails to pay on deadline.



Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, made the statement yesterday in reaction to the suit instituted by the telecom operator at a Lagos High Court, weekend.

The minister, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, however, admitted that MTN had the right to seek court’s interpretation if it feels unsatisfied with the action of the regulator but made it clear that nothing would stop the government from imposing additional fine on the operator, at the expiration of the deadline.

According to the minister, “it is the right of MTN to approach the court but there was an infraction, which MTN admitted to have committed before it pleaded for leniency that led to the reduction of the fine from N1.4 trillion to N780 billion and the subsequent December 31, 2015 deadline to pay.

“If it has decided to go to court, it is still within the ambit of the law. I will not intervene, since they have gone to court, we will allow the court to decide if it is right for MTN to commit those infractions and breach the laws of the land.”

He, however, said that “it is unwise for MTN to go to court after the Federal Government had magnanimously reduced the fine. It will surely be fined for violating the rule at the expiration of the deadline, should it fail to pay the initial fine.”

MTN Asks Court To Quash $3.9bn Fine

South African telecoms giant, MTN, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos to challenge the $3.9 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), urging the court to quash the fine.

last October slammed the telecoms firm with a fine of $5.2 billion for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers. The initial fine was later reduced by 25 per cent to $3.9 billion earlier this month, with a payment deadline set for December 31.

But MTN through its team of lawyers – Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Mr. Tanimola Molajo (SAN), Mr. A.B. Mahmoud (SAN), Dr. Gbolahan Elias (SAN), Mr. Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) and Dr. Oladapo Olanipekun (SAN) – is challenging the powers of NCC to impose such a fine on it.

The telecoms company is arguing that on the basis that NCC, being a regulator, cannot assume all the functions of the state on its own, considering the fact that they made the regulation, prescribed the penalty and imposed the fine payable to the commission and not the federal government.

The firm is also contending that it was not afforded its constitutional right of fair hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction and more importantly, it had not been found guilty of any offence that will warrant it to pay such an outrageous fine.

It is of the view that the sanction imposed on it by NCC was applied within 24 hours of its written submission on the disconnection exercise and the impractical nature of the NCC deadline.

Stating that the deadline of seven days to disconnect 5.2 million subscribers was grossly inadequate and impracticable, the telecoms company said the deadline to disconnect 5.2 million subscribers was unfair and ran contrary to the requirement to give adequate notice to the subscribers and all operators.

Credit: Thisday

N1.04trn Fine: MTN Drags FG To Court

MTN Group said yesterday that its Nigerian subsidiary, MTN Nigeria has resolved to sue the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the Federal High Court, Lagos to contest the imposition of N1.04 trillion fine for not deactivating 5.1 million pre-registered subscriber lines in August and September this year.

Acting on legal advice from its lawyers, MTN Nigeria said the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum thereof was not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine.

A statement issued to its Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) shareholders yesterday evening advised that all factors having a bearing on the matter have been thoroughly and carefully considered including a review of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the NCC.

Chris Maroleng, spokesman of MTN Group said MTN has followed due process and has instructed its lawyers to proceed with an action in the federal high court in Lagos seeking the appropriate reliefs.

He said the lawyers advised MTN “that in the current circumstances in line with the lis pendens rule (pending legal action) the parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined. This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria.”

Credit: Leadership

N1.4trn Fine: MTN Refuses To Pay, Set To Drag NCC To Court

South African telecoms giant MTN said Thursday it would launch a court challenge against the $3.9 billion fine that Nigeria has ordered it to pay by December 31 for failing to disconnect unregistered users.

MTN, in a statement to shareholders today, said it decided to take this route after exhausting all other options to have the fine reduced.

MTN said that “All factors having a bearing on the matter have been thoroughly and carefully considered, including a review of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the NCC.”

“MTN Nigeria, acting on legal advice, has resolved that the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum thereof is not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine.”


Credit : Vanguard

Why We Reduced MTN’s N1.04trn Fine– NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has defended its action to reduce the N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria to N780 billion, saying it acted in the interest of the stability of the telecom sector.

The commission said it weighed all pros and cons and arrived at a decision it considered favourable to all concerned.

Director public Affairs of the NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, said that after considering the operator’s admission of guilt, huge investment in the country, the large subscriber base and Nigeria being its largest market, the decision to arrive at the reduction was not too difficult.

According to Ojobo, “MTN wrote the commission, acknowledged that there has been an infraction and are now pleading for leniency . In the past we have also had people plead for leniency on their sanctions. At that time, of course the NCC board has not been constituted, no Minister, the authority of the president was required for such a decision to be taken in the absence of the minister, and so the commission had to notify the presidency.

“The stakeholders looked at it with all the pros and cons and reduced the fine by 25 percent. We are aware and conscious of the level of investment MTN has made in this market; they have the largest number of subscribers, it is also important to know that Nigeria remains their biggest market. We have taken all into considerations, and that was what even informed the discussion in the first place. Weighing all of these issues, is why this action has been taken”.

Credit: Vanguard

Nigerians Drag NCC To Court For Reducing MTN’s N1.04trn Fine

Some Nigerians on Monday faulted the decision of the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, to reduce by 25 per cent a N1.04 trillion fine earlier imposed on MTN for not disconnecting unregistered subscribers.

The NCC, last week, reduced the fine to N780 billion, with December 31, 2015 as deadline for MTN to pay.

But some aggrieved Nigerians on Monday criticized the NCC for the decision, describing it as a violation of the fundamental rights of Nigerians and a breach of sections of Nigerian laws and the Constitution.

“No Nigerian institution or public office holder has the absolute power to howsoever reduce the fine, without legitimate recourse to the Nigerian people,” the group, Concerned Nigerians, said in their particulars of claims filed along with a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

In the class action suit filed on their behalf by an Abuja-based legal practitioner and civil rights activist, Timipa Okponipere, the applicants asked the court to declare the decision a breach of Part X, Sections 86-88; 142(3-4) of the NCC Act 2003; Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Article 21(5) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Accusing the NCC of conspiring with MTN against Nigerians, the applicants said the laws guaranteed the fundamental rights of Nigerians to fair hearing and freedom to dispose of their wealth and natural resources in the exclusive interest of the people.

Credit: PremuimTimes

MTN Nigeria Fine Increased To $3.9 Billion After Regulator Error

MTN Group Ltd. had its record fine in Nigeria increased $500 million to $3.9 billion after the country’s telecommunications regulator said it wrote the incorrect penalty in an earlier letter to Africa’s largest phone company. “There was a typo,” Nigerian Communication Commission spokesman Tony Ojobo said by phone on Friday, referring to a letter dated Dec.
2 that reduced the original $5.2 billion penalty to $3.4 billion. “The reduction should have been 25 percent. We saw the mistake and had to fix it.” MTN spokesman Chris Maroleng declined to
comment. The shares traded 4.7 percent lower at 133.40 rand as of 10:39 a.m. in Johannesburg,

the lowest since Nov. 17. MTN received a second letter on Thursday which superseded the first letter and increased the fine to $3.9 billion, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Friday. The payment date is Dec. 31.

MTN Gets Dec 31 Deadline To Pay N674bn Slashed Fine

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has reduced the N1.04 trillion fine it imposed on MTN Nigeria to N674 billion.

However, the commission has also mandated the telecom operator to pay the fine on or before December 31, 2015.

The fine imposed on the telecom operator was due to what NCC described as MTN’s inability to disconnect about 5.1 million Nigerian subscribers improperly registered on its network, after several warnings in August and September 2015.

In reaction, MTN has said it would carefully study the new development and would mandate its Executive Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, to immediately and urgently re-engage with the Nigerian authorities before responding formally.

The reduction, which represents a 25 per cent slash, provides MTN with a reprieve, after series of meetings which have seen several officials from South Africa thronging the country to negotiate the fine.

Credit: Vanguard

President Buhari To Have Final Say On Decision For MTN N1.4 trillion Fine

It appears the onus if on President Muhammadu Buhari, to take a decision on the issue of the N1.4 trillion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria bu the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, made this disclosure on Tuesday, at the Alliance 4 Affordable Internet Nigeria Coalition conference in Lagos.

He said the fine imposed on MTN was in the interest of Nigerians, adding that the telecommunications company had already apologised, and the President is now expected to decide on what happens.

“I don’t think there is any conflicting position on where government stands on the MTN issue. Recall that there were violations which were established against MTN.

“The violations were to the tune of five million subscribers. There are many countries where subscribers, in the entire country, are not up to half of the five million. In the case of Nigeria, we had more than five million violations.

“However, both the government and MTN are on the same page that rules have been broken in this instance.

“The issue is now before Mr President. He will take the necessary decision at the appropriate time. And the President would do what is best for the public interest,“ the Minister said.

“The good thing is that MTN did not contest the fact that they had violated the regulations and guidelines. They never contested it. They admitted they were at fault. They apologized for their role in the saga and they made a commitment that what happened will never happen again. And of course, they made a plea for review of the payment terms,” he said.

NCC To Sanction MTN, Airtel, Globacom Over Auto Data Service Migration

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday  said it would sanction MTN, Airtel and Globacom for defying its directive on automatic migration to Pay-As-You-Go data bundle.

The Commission made this known in its ‘2015 third quarter Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Report’ obtained posted on its website.

NCC said it had continued to receive complaints from subscribers on automatic migration of data bundle package to Pay-As-You-Go Billing on depletion of their data bundle.

‘’Consequently and pursuant to section 53(1) of the NCC Act, 2003. The commission on 3rd August 2015 directed all mobile service operators to comply with the data bundle directions.

According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), NCC said “where a subscriber’s data bundle account is fully depleted before the due date, service providers should notify the subscriber via SMS, giving information regarding the tariff/ billing rate for automatic migration.

‘’That all service providers should henceforth stop auto-migration of subscriber’s data service to the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) account upon depletion of the data bundle account, except with the express consent and authorisation of the subscriber via SMS.’’

Credit: NationOnline

More Troubles For MTN As Uganda Fines Telco $622,000

It is not only in Nigeria that MTN has run foul of the rules. It is also in hot water in Uganda, going by this report by Uganda’s New Vision newspaper:


The Commercial court in Uganda has ordered telecom giant, MTN Uganda to pay a sum of Shs 2.3bn (about $662,000) in damages to EzeeMoney Limited for sabotaging its business.


Justice Henry Peter Adonyo on November 6, 2015 also ordered MTN to stop acting in unlawful and anti-competitive manner, which denies other businesses an opportunity to prosper.


Justice Adonyo said MTN should pay Shs 800m to EzeeMoney in general damages for loss of business. It should also pay a penalty of Shs 1.5bn in punitive damages to deter not only MTN but also warn other companies against uncompetitive business tactics.


It all started when EzeeMoney, which runs an e-money business, obtained a contract from MTN for the provision of digital transmission [E1] and 30 fixed telephone lines to carry out its mobile money business.


EzeeMoney then contracted Yo! Uganda Limited (YUL) to implement the service after Uganda Communications Commission, the regulator, approved it on December 2012, to use the 7711 short code to enable its customers to subscribe for e-money services.


But in 2013, MTN cancelled the contract, saying EzeeMoney was a direct competitor to its mobile money business. Through AF Mpanga and company advocates, EzeeMoney went to court, saying MTN’s action “restricted and distorted competition.”


EzeeMoney said MTN also damaged its ties with YUL and deprived it of services of other telecommunications operators. It argued that MTN used its exclusivity agreements to stop its agents from working for any other firm with similar business, further limiting competition.




In a January 28, 2013 letter to EzeeMoney, MTN appeared to say its business would be disrupted if the former was given access to its platform.


“EzeeMoney is in direct competition with MTN in the provision of mobile money,” read the letter in part.


Justice Adonyo said the letter confirmed that MTN was stopping services of the company because it considered it a competitor.


“It is testified that when YUL required the defendant [MTN] to activate the plaintiff’s [EzeeMoney]short code on its platform, the defendant declined to do so on the basis that the plaintiff was in direct competition with it,” the judge observed.


“YUL then seeing that the plaintiff couldn’t carry out the business they had agreed together, by a letter dated 7/2/2013, did terminate all services with the plaintiff as YUL did not want to jeopardize its relationship with the defendant.”


David Mpanga, EzeeMoney’s lead counsel, said MTN’s action of not activating the short code and the subsequent cancellation by YUL led to loss of business.
“The denial of the use of the defendant’s [MTN] platform to the plaintiff [EzeeMoney] by the defendant would thus be an act which is prohibited within the meaning of section 53(1) (a) of the Act [Communications] for it limited competition,” Adonyo said.



The judge also found that MTN coerced its agents to reject EzeeMoney. One witness, Sammy Mwathi, told court that he was an MTN money agent and he was restricted from dealing with other firms in the same business by signing exclusivity agreement.


“The perusal of the exclusivity agreement itself confirms the position that the defendant acted outside the law for it appears it used coercive methods like denial of services to its agents,” he said. “[This] prohibited fair competition… and [was] contrary to the provisions of the law.”


Credit : Uganda’s New Vision newspaper, PM News

Hefty Fine On MTN Remains – NCC

Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has said a $5.2 billion fine imposed on South Africa’s MTN remains valid until talks with the company are concluded.
Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator was handed the penalty for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards in breach of a NigeriaCommunications Commission (NCC) order.
MTN said on Monday — the initial deadline for payment — that it had won a respite on the payment until the outcome of talks.
The NCC confirmed the deadline extension and that MTN had admitted the breach in a letter and “pleaded for leniency”.
“The Commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine,” it added.
“The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.”
The fine on MTN Nigeria was imposed “in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges”, the NCC added.
“National interest is paramount because when lives are lost they cannot be replaced,” the regulator said in its first formal statement on the issue.
At least 17,000 people have been killed since 2009 and 2.6 million forced from them homes in Boko Haram violence that has increasingly hit Nigeria‘s neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The NCC said registration of subscribers was made mandatory to ensure proper identification of users with their biometric data and in line with international best practice.
All operators in Nigeria were involved in drawing up the regulations in 2011, it added.
The heavy fine sent MTN‘s share price plummeting on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and prompted the resignation of chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa.

Dabengwa’s role has been taken by acting executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko for six months. He is involved in the negotiations with the NCC.


Credit : Vanguard

NCC Extends Deadline For MTN Fine Payment

MTN Group on Monday said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had extended the deadline for the payment of the N1.04 trillion (5.2 billion dollars) fine imposed on it, pending the conclusion of negotiations.


In a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the Group said that the Chairman of the Company, Mr Phuthuma Nhleko, had personally met with NCC to continue the ongoing discussions regarding the fine.


It said that the discussions included matters of non-compliance and the remedial measures that might have to be adopted to address it.


“Shareholders are referred to the announcements issued by the company on the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) of the JSE Ltd on Oct. 26, 2015, Oct. 30, 2015, Nov. 2, 2015, Nov. 3, 2015 and Nov. 9, 2015, respectively.


“Shareholders were advised in the SENS announcements that the company would update them on all material developments on this matter.


“The NCC set a deadline for payment of the fine by Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.


“Shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded,’’ the MTN Group is quoted as saying.


The company said it was determined to resolve the matter with the NCC as soon as possible and would continue to update stakeholders of any material developments regarding the afore-mentioned fine via SENS.


The Group advised shareholders to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities, until otherwise announced.


Efforts to get the Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo to confirm the extension of payment of the fine proved abortive, as he was said to be attending a meeting.



N1.04tn Fine: MTN Pleads For Staggered Payment

MTN has asked Nigeria for a plan to allow it to stagger the payment of a $5.2bn (N1.04tn) fine as the deadline for the payment expires today (Monday) , a source at the Nigerian Communications Commission said on Sunday.

The source added that the government was considering the request, made at a meeting on Friday between MTN and high-level government officials, and that the decision would be disclosed on Monday.

Authoritative sources told one of our correspondents on Sunday that the Federal Government at a meeting with MTN officials on Friday night rejected pleas by the mobile company to have the fine slashed. It was learnt that the Federal Government insisted that the rule should be followed since the
rule that was contravened was clear.

Failing to obtain a reduction, MTN officials were said to have asked to have the payment staggered over a period of two years. By the end of the meeting on Friday, the proposal had not been accepted.

However, it was learnt that there were would be another round of meeting on Sunday night to resolve the knotty issue.

If the Sunday night meeting resolved the issues, the Federal Government may speak on the matter within two days, it was gathered. Since the imbroglio, neither NCC nor the Federal Government has officially spoken on the matter.

The NCC slapped the fine on MTN last month for its failure to cut off 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards.

MTN spokesman Chris Maroleng said, “We are waiting for authorities to come back to us”.

Nigeria has been pushing telecommunication operators to verify the identity of subscribers due to concerns that unregistered SIM cards are being used for criminal activity or even by Boko Haram militants waging an Islamist insurgency in the northeast.

“At the meeting, MTN pleaded passionately for staggered payment since the option of reduction of the fine had been ruled out,” the NCC source told Reuters.

However, a source familiar with the discussions said that an eleventh hour reduction of the fine could still be possible.

“Until the final announcement is made, there may be some room for manoeuvre,” the source familiar with the situation said.

Spokesmen for Presidency and communications ministry declined to comment.

The fine – if fully enforced – amounts to more than the past two years’ profit for the MTN in its biggest market. The new Minister of Cmmunications, Adebayo Shittu, told Reuters on Friday the government did not want the MTN “to die” or shut down operations as a result of the penalty.

The fine is based on $1,000 per outstanding unregistered SIM card, as stipulated by Nigerian telecommunications laws.

Nigeria accounts for 37 per cent of revenues for MTN, which operates in more than 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Since the announcement of the fine, its shares have lost nearly 25 per cent of their value.

Source: Punch

New MTN CEO Arrives Nigeria Ahead Of $5.2bn Fine Deadline

MTN’s executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko was in Nigeria as the deadline to pay a $5.2 billion fine for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards approaches.


This is according to a Reuters report, which cited a source with knowledge of the matter.


Nhleko, who became executive chairman earlier this week after CEO Sifiso Dabengwa quit over the fine, said that he would proactively deal with the Nigerian regulator and will continue to work with them in addressing the issues around unregistered subscribers as a matter of urgency.


MTN is being fined for failing to cut off around 5 million subscribers for which it did not have details as Nigeria is trying to cut down on crimes committed via cellphones.


The fine, which is due on Monday, has weighed heavily on MTN’s shares and has seen them lose about a quarter of their value since the it was announced towards the end of October.


Some analysts have described the fine as “crazy” and noted it amounts to 2.5 years’ worth of MTN profits.


NCC Fine: MTN’s Largest Shareholder Says It Wants ‘More Heads To Roll

MTN’s largest shareholder and the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, Public Investment Corporation (PIC), has said it will seek for more heads to roll when it meets with the Acting CEO Nhleko. The CEO of PIC Daniel Matjila said in a statement.

“A lot more people need to take collective responsibility for the fine… for the alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements,”
MTN has been in negotiations with the Nigerian government to reduce the fine and has found some
sympathy with a cross section of analysts who believe the fine is excessive and inconsistency with what was obtainable elsewhere.

Tony Ademiluyi: MTN; The First Scapegoat

The spiraling rate of unemployment has made the need to bring in foreign direct investment a buzzword especially among junketing public officials to justify their frequent travels. The relationship between the so called investors and the regulatory agencies is akin to that of a cat and mouse as it’s a well-known fact that the investors have scant regard for the nation’s laws and carry on with the toga of indispensability.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issues a clear directive on the deactivation of sim lines in performance of a statutory duty. The South African telecommunication giants still went ahead to fail to deactivate well over five million lines without biometric verification since August this year and has thereby attracted a fine of $5.2 billion to be paid on the 16th of this month.

For the first time, our dormant regulatory agency has attracted global respect as the news of the sanction led to a 25% loss of its market capitilisation, its share trading being placed on technical suspension in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the resignation of its Chief Executive Officer in South Africa, Sifiso Dabengwa. The Iroko has truly bellowed as the Nigerian market with the largest population in Africa is not one that can be ignored. Mtn has implicitly admitted that they are guilty of the infraction as they have not contested the position of the NCC so far whether in court or out of it. What they have been pleading for is some sort of leniency as the fine would take a heavy toll on its operations.

Impunity has been a problem the nation has been dealing with in its thorny relationship with investors. The foreigners have taken advantage of our weak institutions especially with regards to our regulators to give us a raw deal. The international oil companies have wrecked the environments of their host communities with their persistent oil spills and their slap in the wrist fines which hardly clean up the battered communities. From Shell to Chevron, it has been tales of agony, tears and blood by the impoverished communities whose lands and rivers have rendered farming and fishing impossible. This is the remote cause of the militancy in the south-south region as the penalties the IOC’s get as worse than ludicrous jokes. The Chinese and Indians exploit our workers with reckless abandon and nothing happens. There was the case of a Chinese company which used to lock up its premises and there was a fire outbreak which killed some Nigerian members of staff. The Nigerian authorities simply looked the other way as business and life simply went on. It’s an open secret that there is no insurance policy for factory workers who handle deadly chemicals with most of them not even given safety kits and the dearth of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in these sweat shops.

The inertia of the regulatory authorities is not the case in other climes especially in the advanced economies. In Japan for example where there is relative job security, foreign investors are forced to ensure the job security of the employees of their host countries despite the vagaries of a free economy which may not make it profitable in all cases. British Petroleum will now pay $18.7 billion in the largest oil spill compensation in world history. The American justice department and four other states successfully sued the oil giants and the Heavens didn’t fall. The fine by MTN wouldn’t make the Heavens fall as well. It will be even be a surreptitious compensation for their poor services. Many Nigerians including this writer have been victims of the brazen deductions of airtime by the telecommunications giant and our collective helplessness in our quest for justice. It’s high time that the fear of our regulatory authorities be the beginning of wisdom for these conceited so called foreign investors who trample on the rights of the proletariat with so much contempt and scorn.

Some Nigerians especially the Chairman of the Silverbird Group and the Senator representing Bayelsa East on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ben Murray-Bruce raised an alarm that the fine was sending a wrong signal to investors on the harshness of the regulatory authorities and that the act of NCC would discourage them from trooping in. It is sad that a section of Nigerians especially Murray-Bruce would prefer the mediocrity being exhibited by our regulatory authorities and the unhealthy power being enjoyed by the investors. Should we take bunkum because we want every Tom, Dick and Harry to come in and further exploit us in our own country? Should we become hewers of wood and drawers of water in our motherland because we want to bend over backwards to appease the insatiable appetite of the baboon called foreign investors who would continue their rape and pillage of us till they get tired and move on to saner climes? It is sad that Murray-Bruce who also doubles as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on privatization can make such an unpatriotic comment. Foreign investors would be happy that our regulatory agencies are working as this would be assured that they won’t be operating in a Thomas Hobbesian jungle where nothing works. Every investor wants to be assured of some sort of sanity and not the madness that is currently going on. The MTN deterrence would not in any way prevent them from coming in; rather it would make them more sensitive to the needs of the people and operate within the ambits of the legal system. If they decide to pack up and go because we stuck our guns and insisted on doing the right thing, their loss would be our gain as the other giants would simply share the booty without the loss of a single job. Let us stop being ruled by fear as nature abhors a vacuum.

November 16, 2015 which is also the 111th posthumous birthday of one of our founding fathers, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe a.k.a the Great Zik of Africa should be the dawn of a new era in the advent of the death to impunity beginning with the telecommunications sector and then surreptitiously spreading to all other sectors of the economy.  The NCC should resist any pressure to reduce the fine as that would make them a toothless bull dog and the object of scorn and derision.

MTN should fully face the music.


Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

‘MTN Must Respect Laws Of Host Countries’ – South African Deputy President

South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company, the MTN Group Ltd., to follow the rules in countries where it is operating.

This followed a fine of $5.2 billion imposed on MTN by telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for failing to disconnect customers with unregistered phone cards.

NCC gave MTN until November 16 to pay the fine, which relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million subscribers and is based on a charge of N200,000 ($1,005) for each unregistered

Nigeria is the Johannesburg-based MTN’s biggest market with 62 million clients as of September.

The company’s shares have slumped 14 per cent since October 26, when the fine was imposed.
Ramaphosa, in an address to lawmakers in Cape Town yesterday, said the government would be taking note of what “is happening with a view of seeing how the company involved responds and reacts” to its challenges.

“We would like our companies to comply with the laws and regulations of countries where they operate, without violating them.

“It does seem like in the case of Nigeria, there were issues, and those issues need to be addressed.

“If this fine is indeed imposed as it is, it is going to impact on South Africa as well, as our revenue fortunes from a taxation point of view are going to be lower,” he said.

Agency reports indicated that comments by Ramaphosa, a former chairman of MTN, suggested that South African authorities might leave MTN to face its problem as it seeks to have the penalty reduced.

South African authorities might also be reluctant to confront their Nigerian counterparts following a series of diplomatic spats that have soured relations between the Africa’s two biggest economies.

The most recent occurred in April, when Nigeria’s government allegedly ordered its two most senior diplomats in South Africa to return home for consultations following a wave of attacks against immigrants, including Nigerians, in Johannesburg and Durban.

“South Africa does not have a track record of defending its national company champions internationally,” Nic Borain, a political analyst, who advises BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities, said by phone.

“On the face of it, this fine seems seriously over the top. Ramaphosa’s words about the issue seem weak as they veer too much on the side of caution,” he added.

South Africa’s telecommunication and finance ministries didn’t respond to agency’s calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Lawmakers plan to summon MTN officials to explain why the company was fined, Nkhensani Kubayi, chairwoman of Parliament’s telecommunications committee, said by phone from Cape Town.

The panel will also ask the South African industry regulator to determine whether MTN is compliant with local rules, with hearings likely to take place next year, she said.

Source: The Nation

MTN Fine Crisis Will Not Affect Ties Between Nigeria, S’Africa -Radebe

Even though South Africa has expressed concerns over a N1.04 trillion (5.2 billion dollars) fine imposed by Nigerian authorities on MTN Group, it would not affect the cordial relations between the continent’s two biggest economies, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.


South African Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, told reporters “obviously as government we are concerned’’ and said the cabinet hoped that the talks between MTN and Nigerian authorities on the fine would bear fruit.

MTN Wants $5.2bn Fine Slashed By 80%

MTN Group Ltd in South Africa is making some moves to get the $5.2 billion fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reduced by as much as 80 per cent and it is considering borrowing money from banks to help settle the penalty, should its request for fine reduction sail through.

Bloomberg reported that the head of research of Renaissance Capital (RenCap) in Nigeria, Mr. Adesoji Solanke, shared a note with clients on Wednesday, where he said: “MTN is pushing to reduce the fine by 60 per cent to 80 per cent.”

According to Bloomberg, a second lender said: “MTN is considering borrowing from banks, as it recently checked what the banks’ lending capacity to it is.”

It however quoted MTN’s Group spokesman, Chris Maroleng, as saying: “We don’t comment on banking matters, and banking regulators in Nigeria are best placed to provide context on these matters.”

It also quoted the Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, as saying: “I don’t have that information.”

MTN has until November 16, 2015, to pay the penalty, which relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million subscribers and is based on a charge of N200,000 for each unregistered customer.

Credit: ThisDay

NCC Renews MTN’s License

The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) has extended MTN Group’s operating license, the company said on Tuesday, quelling fears that Africa’s biggest mobile phone firm would have to pay a $5.2 billion fine before the license could be renewed.

Johannesburg-based MTN is in talks with the Federal Government about the fine, imposed on its unit in Nigeria for failing to cut off more than 5 million users with unregistered SIM cards, Reuters reported.

Nigeria has been pushing operators to verify the identity of their subscribers, on concerns that unregistered SIM cards were being used for criminal activity in a country facing an insurgency from the Boko Haram sect.

“We view this extension as a demonstration of confidence in MTN’s capacity to continue to provide ground-breaking and innovative services to its customers,” Reuters quoted MTN corporate affairs executive, Akinwale Goodluck, as saying in a statement.

Credit: NationOnline

Internet Data Is Not The Next Crude Oil! By Olawale Awe

Everywhere you turn these days, you hear this strange analogy;

“Data is the next crude oil”. Some even say, “Data is the next Gold “ 

Spoiler alert, data is not the next crude oil, or Gold or Unobtainium! Having tons of terabytes of data will not save a dying company or organization. Like everything big tech these days, there is a coordinated strategy to get businesses buying into this concept, even if it is not needed.

Don’t just take my word for it, lets do a little digging together. What is data? Why is it all of a sudden big? Data is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. So big data is also big facts, big stats, big reference and/or big analysis. So what’s new? Why the fuss? Well, before social media and smart phones, we didn’t have much data to give. That’s all changed now. We now emit data doing the most basic of tasks! (It’s possible to generate data when we sneeze! Yeah, it’s possible! Your phone just needs to feel the vibration, analyses the sound, compares it to some database of ‘sneeze sound’ somewhere, confirms it’s a sneeze and store all the details about the sneeze!) We are now data machines. I am sure we would all cringe if we knew the amount of data we can or do generate. So lots of data and like crude oil companies are to just simply mine and refine this to hit the jackpot? Well not so fast. The gathering and storing of data is a tedious and painstaking job and although businesses need data in one form or another, it’s not the sole need of a business. Proponents of big data give various use cases of how it will drive your business and give you better insight but they fail to stress the fact that its implementation and execution requires very skilled sophistication. Companies like Facebook and Google have mastered the art of gathering and storing data in gigantic volumes and they have based their business model on selling products and services based on data. They have also invested heavily in technologies, software and personnel to constantly improve their processes.

One of the end products of data is reports and when refined further we get insights. Currently most companies that don’t use big data technologies generate enough reports and insights but still struggle to implement or take actions. Why? Reasons vary from firm to firm, but one factor common to most companies is the need to innovate and that has been interpreted to an investment in new technology. Using the financial services industry as an example, Banks are haemorrhaging fines for crimes to their clients and customers, but are also investing in big data technology so they can have more access to our wallet. Data gathering is about trust and/or benefits. Facebook and Google can directly gather data about us because they render a service to us while most Apple customer simply trust the company. Although banks indirectly have data about us, through credit agencies, there is a law that guides what they can do with it. Insurance firms are investing in big data, to gather pricing information that would be used in calculating a customer’s policy. Customers are now getting smarter and switching insurers every year.  Some insurers, Axa for example, have decided to be more open to their customers, instead of relying on complex pricing models. They hope to retain more customers by simply telling the truth. There is also a drive for smaller businesses. Lots of entrepreneurs want to target a niche and stick to it. We can’t place a value on personal service and until there is an algorithm or robot that can sense a prospective customer’s mood and manage business conversations better than humans, smaller businesses and openness will be the way for new and established businesses respectively.

So are you a business thinking of investing in big data? Well if you are not a team of data scientist consulting for some of the big tech firms, I will suggest you turn your focus to other problems. Embrace being open and social. Let your customers know where you are, where you want to go and how you want to get there. Show them the exact cost of your services and why you charge what you charge. Don’t try amassing data indirectly. Customers will give you the data you need if they see a benefit or if they trust you. And don’t analyze such data for profit, analyze it for service, use it to give a far better and superior product or service. Data is not the next crude oil. Think of it more like engine oil. You only need oil change after a few thousand miles, so get to work.

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

MTN May Shut Down Services As Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder

MTN Nigeria says it may shut down its services due to scarcity of fuel to power its operations.

According to the company, it needs a “significant quantity of diesel in the very near future to prevent a shutdown of services across Nigeria,” it wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

“If diesel supplies are not received within the next 24 hours the network will be seriously degraded and customers will feel the impact,” it added.

In a similar move, rival telco Airtel has also said fuel scarcity may affect the quality of its services as it is finding it hard to get diesel to power its base station.

Scarcity of petroleum products has become worse in Nigeria in recent days as marketers of the products have stopped importation. They claimed that the federal government has refused to fulfill its subsidy payment obligations.

Controlling Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, however, said that the marketers have not been paid because she could not sign off monies that she would find difficult to explain to Nigerians later. She said that the marketers, who had earlier agreed with the setting up of an ad hoc committee made up of their representatives, those of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Debt Management Office (DMO), and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to verify their claims suddenly backed out.

Music Star Kcee Hawks MTN Recharge Cards On The Streets (PHOTOS)

\Singer Kcee was spotted early this morning along the major streets of Lagos where he went to sell MTN recharge cards and also to interact with his fans. As a brand ambassador of MTN, he used himself as an example and encouraged his numerous fans never to give up but rather be focused and hard working and also to believe in themselves because this world Na turn by turn according to him. More photos below…

Xenophobia: MTN Threatens To Sack 6,000 Nigerians If They Are Attacked

Hours after two groups protested in its Abuja and Benin offices against the violent killing of foreigners in its home country, South Africa, MTN Nigeria on Monday warned that should there be attacks on its facilities, it might be forced to close shop.

And 99 per cent of its over 6,000 workforce in the country, who are Nigerians, would be thrown into the labour market. According to the Corporate Service Executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck, there are only 12 expatriates working for the company in the country, compared to a workforce of 6,000 Nigerians.

Read More: nairamag

We Will Shut Down All South African Businessess In Nigeria Including MTN, DSTV- Tolu Adesanya

The South African government has been given 48 hours to stop xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals and their shops or else their companies abroad will be shut down.

An official with the newly elected All Progressive Congress (APC), Tolu Adesanya, confirmed to eNCA that they handed down a memorandum to the South African embassy in Lagos on Wednesday.

In the memorandum, the APC party officials and members of civil society groups have demanded that South Africa take swift action against attacks on foreign nationals.

Adesanya said that Nigeria will shut down South African businesses if their demands are not met by South Africa.

“We actually handed a letter to the South African embassy yesterday, making them aware that we are not happy with what is going on in South Africa. Should there be any more attacks, we are going to shut down South African businesses in Nigeria. That is MTN, Multi Choice, Shoprite etc,” said APC official Tolu Adesanya.

APC officials and civil rights groups planned to march to a South African embassy on Thursday.

Thursday’s march has been supported by African Diaspora Forum.

ADF’s Vice Chairman Jean-Pierre Lukamba told eNCA that “actually they (Nigerians) don’t have a choice”.

South African companies in other African countries include cellphone company MTN, retail giant Shoprite, and satellite TV provider Multi Choice among others.

Read More: naijaloaded

Multiple Taxes: Telcos Threaten To Shut Down Networks


Nigerian telecom operators have said that the over N10 billion annual multiple taxations levied them by local, state and federal governments and their agencies was threatening the survival of the telecom sector as investors may be pushed to divest from the sector which may in turn aggravate the quality on networks.
About eight states and their local governments have issued notices to telecom operators to pay taxes and levies exceeding N10 billion annually.
Speaking under the aegis of the Industry Working Group (IWG) on multiple taxations in the telecom industry, the operators and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday in Lagos said the survival of the industry now depends on all stakeholders, prevailing on the states and local governments to stop insisting on collecting taxes and levies on operators’ infrastructures such as base stations and masts.
The chairman of the IWG and Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management at NCC, Mr. Okey Itanyi, said that multiple taxation portends a grave danger for the telecoms industry if not quickly addressed. “The country may lose the gains and confidence achieved so far in the last couple of years.
The industry still requires investments in network infrastructure to ensure full access across the country, and to guarantee good and acceptable quality of service which has become a major challenge,” he said.
According to the vice chairman of the IWG, Mrs. Oyeronke Oyetunde, multiple taxation has been impeding telecoms growth in recent past.
She explained that a situation where a local government authority is demanding about N10million on each site from telecoms operators for building base stations in their vicinity, apart from other levies the operators have to contend with at the state and federal levels, would hinder operators in providing quality telecoms services to the generality of Nigerians, irrespective of their locations.
She noted that as a result of delay often experienced in infrastructure rollout, telecoms companies have only been able to deploy barely 20,000 base stations in the country, stressing that over 70, 000 base stations would be required in Nigeria, given its large size, to provide ubiquitous telecoms services.
“If you have a local government demanding N10m from an operator and you now multiply that by the number of Local Government Areas we have in the country, you would see that this is unsustainable in the long run for the operators.
It is either you kick the operators out of business or force them to pass the cost accrued to them through such illegal taxations their customers in form high tariff,” she said.
The President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbajo, noted that between 2006 and 2007, operators were charged about N10, 000 and N20, 000. “And more recently, the charges in form of multiple taxations and illegal demand of some frivolous levies, have run into millions of naira. This is unfavourable as operators may have to pass this cost to subscribers,” he said.
A representative of the Association of Licenced Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and member of the IWG, Mr. Tobe Okigbo, said, “The operators may not have other choices than to push additional cost incurred to their subscribers rather than allow a telecom firm to totally shut down.”
Okigbo gave the indication during the maiden media parley of the IWG on multiple taxation which was set up by the NCC to address ongoing cases of multiple taxation and its potential dangers on telecom growth in the country.
The group called for urgent action by the government at all levels to support the industry’s stakeholders in nipping the incessant cases of multiple taxation and illegal and frivolous taxes in the bud to prevent operators passing the cost of the taxes on the over 96 million telecom subscribers on their various networks in form of increased tariff.
Via All Africa