Why Nigeria reduced MTN’s N1.04 trn fine

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed the rationale behind the federal government’s decision to reduce the N1.04 trn fine imposed on South African telecommunication giant, MTN.

The initial fine imposed on MTN Nigeria for failing to cut off unregistered subscribers was last week, reduced to N780 billion.

In defense of the reduction, the commission said after weighing the benefits and disadvantages of the severity of the fine, it considered a slash in the figure, as favourable to all.

In essence, the NCC says the federal government’s decision was in the best interest of the stability of the telecom sector.

Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, said MTN’s admission of guilt, it’s huge investment in the country and large subscriber base in Nigeria were considered before arriving at the decision.

“MTN wrote the commission, acknowledged that there has been an infraction and are now pleading for leniency. In the past we have also had people plead for leniency on their sanctions.

“At that time, of course the NCC board has not been constituted, no minister, the authority of the president was required for such a decision to be taken in the absence of the minister, and so the commission had to notify the presidency.

“The stakeholders looked at it with all the pros and cons and reduced the fine by 25 per cent. We are aware and conscious of the level of investment MTN has made in this market; they have the largest number of subscribers, it is also important to know that Nigeria remains their biggest market. We have taken all into considerations, and that was what even informed the discussion in the first place. Weighing all of these issues, is why this action has been taken”.

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