N330bn fines: MTN pays another N165bn, as Nigeria’s telecoms subscribers hit 120m
Leading Telecommunications company, MTN has paid another N165 billion out of the N330 negotiated fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NCC).
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, who stated this on Thursday in Abuja, said that the Federal Government was carefully studying options in handling another $8.5billion fine imposed on the same company, MTN by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Prof Danbatta said at a gathering in Abuja that the Federal Government was not opposed to the adoption of amicable settlement of the contentious issues.
His disclosures came on the heels of another revelation that the nation’s telecoms subscribers have hot the 120 million mark.
Prof Danbatta, who made the disclosure said that the number of internet subscribers also rose to 108 million from 107.5million in October.
He equally said that as at November about 59 million Nigerians subscribed to broadband service, while broadband penetration stood at 30.9 per cent.
He said that investments in the telecoms sector have grown “from a mere $50million in 2001 to over $70billion as at September 2017,” adding that the NCC intervened positively in the 9mobile crisis to save over 2,000 jobs and protect the investment.
The NCC, EVC said: “That has since been settled. The MTN fine that NCC did has since been settled. As I am talking to you, there is a Settlement Agreement with MTN according to which MTN will pay N330 billion.
“They are busy paying. So far, they have paid 50 per cent of this amount meaning that they have paid N165billion to the coffers of the government.
“And they will be paying the next tranche in December this year. So, the fines have since been settled a long time ago. Aren’t you aware?”
On the $8.5billion issue, Danbatta said it was an issue between the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN) and MTN.
“The $8.5billion is a CBN issue and as a regulator, we pray and hope that this will also be amicably settled because what affects MTN will have serious consequences for the telecommunication sector.
“So, our prayer is that this issue will also be amicably resolved, it is being resolved amicably.
“I heard reliably and we hope to read very soon that this issue is over also. The Nigerian government is disposed to an amicable resolution of the MTN matter with the CBN. This information should go out.
“This information was provided at the last event of the ITU Telecoms World.
“I think this is part of the stance of this government showing flexibility to a resolution of issues of this magnitude.
“Issues that have bearing on the economy, the government is always disposed to finding amicable resolutions.
“This has always been the position of this government on issues that may have adverse effects on the economy.
“You know, they (the government and its officials) tread the path of flexibility, humility at times, to find an amicable resolution to any issue. And this is to the credit of this government, I think.”
While speaking on the increment in teledensity and broadband usage, the Executive Vice Chairman said that the number of internet subscribers also increased from 107.5million in October to 108million in November.
He said that broadband penetration exceeded the Commission’s projections by 0.9 per cent.
He said: “As at November, we have about 59million who have subscribed to broadband service.
“Also, as at November 2018, broadband penetration is 30.9% point. We have exceeded the target by 0.9%.
“Active Voice Subscriber base grew from 165, 239, 443 in October 2018 to 169, 104, 830 in November 2018.
“Internet subscription grew from 107, 547, 723 in October 2018 to 108, 897, 679 in November 2018.
“Total Active Broadband Subscription on 3G and 4G platforms as at November 2018 was 58,965,478.
“The telecommunication sector has impacted on the economy. The contributions of telecommunications and information services to GDP from Q1 –Q3 2018 was N4,725, 563.10 trillion according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
“In the last quarter(Q3, 2018), the amount stood at N1, 517,102.16 trillion, according to Q3 figures by the NBS. Telecommunications and Information Services Sector grew by 14.7% from Q1, 2017-Q3, 2018.”