Written by Sarah NEGEDU

MTN pays 50% unregistered SIM fine to Nigeria

MTN Nigeria has so far paid over 50percent of the N330 billion fine slammed on it in for its failure to comply with the federal government’s rules on deactivation of unregistered SIM cards.

The Nigerian government had in October 2015, imposed N1.04trillion fine on the telecom giant for failing to disconnect 5.1million improperly registered lines on its network within a stipulated time frame. The fine was however reviewed to N330billion following months of negotiations.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, last week said, MTN Nigeria has so far paid N165 billion out of the whole fine as it made the latest payment of N55billion in March.

Prof. Danbatta, disclosed this in Abuja when the MTN Group, led by its Chairman in Nigeria, Dr. Pascal Dozie, paid a courtesy visit to the commission’s headquarters.

He said, “I am happy to inform you that our agreement with MTN on how and when to pay the fine has been adhered to. Just last month, March, we received a cheque of N55billion from MTN as part of the fine payment plan. This brings the total fine paid by MTN Nigeria to N165bn, that is more than half of the fine has been paid so far.

“The memo has accordingly been agreed and approved by the council. The implication of which is that the MoU as negotiated between Nigeria and Switzerland has been agreed and ratified by council and then the attorney general has been mandated to execute the agreement that will see to the repatriation of the $321m and added to it to develop the instrument of ratification that will be expected from both sides of the divide, which will constitute the basis for the signing of the agreement in December in US during the global forum on assets recovery.

Meanwhile, the Commission anticipates that the worth of Value Added Service, VAS, segment of the Nigerian telecom sector will grow to $500million by 2021.

Danbatta said at least $300m worth of investment would be added to the VAS segment in just three years from now. This, the EVC said, would further increase the overall investment in the telecom sector which currently stands at $70bilion.

“In 2001, the telecom sector could boast of a mere $50million worth of investments but as at September 2017, we have investments worth $70billion.

“The Value Added Services [VAS] segment of the telecom market in Nigeria today is worth $200million and is estimated to grow to $500million by 2021.

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