Nigerian regulator denies MTN's appeal for $5.2bil fine reduction

It is believed that the Nigerian government is clamping down on what is described irresponsible behaviours by some multinationals in Nigeria in an attempt to instill sanity in the corporate world and also raise revenue.

 

Nigeria's telecommunications regulator has refused to lower  the 5.2 billion dollar fine against MTN Nigeria. The regulator, however agreed to extend the Monday deadline it originally gave the mobile operator by which it has to pay the fine.

Pulse Business gathers the 5.2 billion dollar fine which was imposed on MTN Nigeria  due to a failure to disconnect unregistered customers.

Spokesperson of Nigerian Communications Commission, Tony Ojobo the MTN fine is the second in two months imposed on the company for the same reason. He stressed the issue is of immense security importance to the government, which is further aggravated by the spates of terrorist attacks in the country.

Mr. Ojobo said that law enforcement agencies have underscored the need to strictly capture ownership of cell phones as they can be used in detonating bombs and other expolsives.

In the first instance when telecommunication companies in Nigeria flouted the iAugust 11 deadline enforcement of SIM Card registration, MTN  was fined an amount of $511 000 for MTN, Ojobo said in a statement but it failed to pay, he said. When an enforcement team audited MTN from September 2-4, the company admitted it still had 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards active on its network, the statement said.

Other companies had complied. “They (MTN) have always been flouting regulations,” Ojobo told The Associated Press.

He added that “The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.” Institutional investors have complained the fine is punitive and warned it could deter investment in Nigeria, but the regulator’s statement said “sanctions are the last resort after all overtures fail but this does not in any way undermine industry standards and the interest of investors.

” Shares of South Africa-based MTN Group, Africa’s biggest telecommunications company, have slumped. CEO Sifiso Dabengwa resigned last week. Despite the furor, the regulator this month extended MTN Nigeria’s operating license until 2021 for $94.2m. Nigeria is the group’s most lucrative subsidiary.

Business and financial analysts have predicted the fine could inevitably lead to the collapse of MTN Nigeria. the $5.2bn equals nearly a quarter Nigeria’s 2015 national budget.

Fin 24 has revealed that the Nigerian government has also meted out  Other fines to other companies recently including: — $15m for United Bank for Africa or failing to transfer government deposits to a single treasury account by September 15. — $5m to Stanbic IBCT Holdings, a subsidiary of Standard Bank of South Africa, which is contesting in court allegations that it filed misleading financial statements. — $5m to Guinness Nigeria for allegedly re-validating expired products and exposing raw materials to rats. The brewer denies wrongdoing.

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