MTN says FG slashes fine to $3.8bn… but Communications Minister isn’t in the loop

South African telecommunications giant, MTN, says the Nigerian Federal Government has slashed the $5.3 billion fine imposed on it, to $3.4 billion.

The Nigerian Communications Commission handed the mobile phone company a $5.2 billion penalty in October after failing to cut off users with unregistered SIM cards from its network.

The company said on Thursday, that it was given until the end of the year to pay the reduced fine.

Reuters quoted a spokesperson of the company to have said: “After further engagements with the Nigerian authorities, the NCC has reduced the imposed fine.”

MTN has received a formal letter dated December 2, 2015 from the NCC informing the company that, after considering the company’s request, it has taken the decision to reduce the fine”

However, the NCC seems not to have gotten the memo as the minister of communication, Barr Adebayo Shittu, while speaking at an event on Wednesday night, said MTN must pay the initial sum of the fine.

To buttress the minister’s point, Professor Umar Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman stated that the stance of the government has not changed at the same event.

Danbatta also noted that even though the deadline for the payment of the fine had elapsed, the issue was still being accorded attention by the NCC.

Since the fine was announced on October 26, MTN shares on South Africa Stock Exchange have lost 23% of their value.

Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko took an executive position in November and led negotiations with the NCC after Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Dabengwa resigned.


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