Case Closed on MTN N1.03tr Fine, Minister Tells Nigerians – Thisday

By Ademola Babalola in Ibadan

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has said that the reduction of the N1.03 trillion fine earlier imposed on the telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, to about N330 billion was in the interest of the investment drive of the Federal Government.

To this end, he said the ‘case is closed’ on the issue, stressing that the need to encourage foreign investment in the country remains the main reason for the Federal Government’s review of the said fine imposed on the company by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC.

The minister spoke to journalists in Ibadan at the weekend at the venue of an Achiever’s Award ceremony in honour of Senator Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland.

For failing to meet the deadline fixed by the NCC to disconnect the subscribers not properly registered, the MTN was fined $1,000 per each of its affected 5.2 million subscribers, totaling $5.2 billion.

But due to pressures for different quarters, the federal government recently agreed to reduce it to N330 billion, which would be paid within the period of three years.

According to Shittu, the Federal Executive Council decided to relax the penalty against the telecommunications giant after realizing the negative impact the burden could have on the nation, its people and the economy.

“As far as we are concerned, the MTN issue is a closed matter. The Federal Executive Council has remitted substantial part of the penalty to them. Nigeria as a country must move on. We must not do anything to drive away foreign investors. Foreign investments are potent means of bringing about development and wealth creation.