Telecommunications giant, MTN is anxiously looking up to Abuja to intervene in the fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, The Difference has learnt.
This is even as sources say that the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari will be the single most important deciding factor in how much of the since-elapsed pending $5.2 billion (R74 billion) fine that the company will ultimately be ordered to pay.
This is coming even in the wake of hints by Nigeria’s communications] minister, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, who has been quoted as having said through his spokesman, Tajudeen Kareem that that “it will be up to the president to determine which direction to go since MTN asked for leniency.”
It will be recalled that the regulatory Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had imposed the choking fine on MTN for failing to disconnect over five million unregistered SIM cards on its network. The fine is the equivalent of around one trillion naira and was calculated on the basis of N200 000 for each unregistered subscriber.
MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria, and the country is also company’s single largest national market space. It had an estimated 62.5 million subscribers in Nigeria as of the third quarter this year and the country accounts for about a third of the MTN group’s revenue.
MTN’s returnee executive chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, has since been in Nigeria and personally met with the authorities to continue the ongoing discussions regarding the fine.
Back in South Africa, the firm’s stock price has fallen around 25% since the fine was announced on 26 October and over 35% year-to-date.