MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has paid a total of N235bn out of the N330bn fine imposed on the mobile telecommunications operator in August 2015 by industry regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, confirmed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday on the sidelines of a valedictory press briefing by the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu.
Danbatta said emanating from the major industry dispute, Nigerians now had the opportunity to own part of the mobile telecommunications network following the public listing of the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange last Thursday.
The NCC boss said, “We have succeeded in empowering Nigerians to own, control and manage one of the dominant telecommunications companies in the country by MTN listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“This is arising from the settlement agreement reached with MTN through the payment of N330bn to the government coffers of which they have paid N235bn thereby remaining the last tranche.
“MTN has been listed on the NSE and Nigerians can now buy shares and through this Nigerians will be financially empowered and socially transformed.”
NCC had in October 2015 imposed a fine of N1.04tn on MTN for irregular registration of 5.2 million subscribers.
However, after prolonged negotiation with both the regulatory agency and the Federal Government, the company had the fine reduced to N330bn.
Public listing was one of the conditions arrived with the telecommunications company originating from South Africa before the Federal Government agreed to reduce the penalty to N330bn.
It also agreed to spread the payment of the fine in tranches over a period of three years.
For the telecommunications company, the road to public listing had been bumpy but the pledge was fulfilled last week when more than 20 billion shares of the company were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange at N90 per share.