Written by Sarah NEGEDU

FG denies MTN settlement claims

The federal government has distanced itself from claims in some section of the media that it has opted for an out of court settlement in the $3.4 billion fine case between the Nigerian Communications Commission and MTN Nigeria.

Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, made the clarification while answering questions at a press conference where he unveiled the four year roadmap for the ICT sector

He said the government is not considering any out of court settlement with the company as was reported.

“Honestly, I’m hearing this for the first time, again the case is in court. It was MTN who took government to court because perhaps to while away time, though I don’t want to cast any aspersion.

“I’m aware also that after the court they made certain moves, but you know very well that in situation like this, the initial sensitivity is involved as far as we are concerned there cannot a court settlement unless the fees is paid so that government will not be put under pressure. For now, we are not aware of any out of court settlement on the issue. We will not accept out of court settlement until MTN willingly discontinues the case,” Shittu said.

MTN Nigeria had in a statement on January 22, said it would now settle the case with the government out of court.

Meanwhile, the four year roadmap for the ICT sector, the Minister said, is expected to fast track development in the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology sector between 2016 and 2020.

The minister said government would not want any ICT company to die in Nigeria because of harsh regulatory policies or multiple taxes but he warned companies operating in the country to play by the rules.

According to Shittu, the road map “involves five steps towards making Nigeria a smart and digital oriented country. The road-map aims to create a pathway to national security and wealth creation for every Nigerian.”

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