Anxious wait for outcome of continuing discussions
By Nsikan Ikpe
The Nigerian telecoms sector is waiting on Etisalat Nigeria at the moment and particularly, the outcome of ongoing negotiations that the telecommunications player is having with a consortium of banks to which it is indebted and the agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
This is on account of its having some 22million subscribers on its network, a factor that has already prompted the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and the company itself to, in separate statements, reassure the public that steps have already been taken to ensure the continued integrity and functionality of the network’s services, notwithstanding the present crisis.
Already critics of the government’s handling of the Nigerian economy in the past two years of its ascendance are putting the blame for the firm’s failure on the government’s poor economic policies.
Remarked Editi Effiòng @EditiEffiong on Twitter. ‘Etisalat Nigeria is obviously the biggest casualty of Buhari’s economic ‘policies’. Who is the next biggest?’
The stalemate has resulted in the formal exit of the parent company, the UAE-based Etisalat Group, which has since announced that it is walking away from its 45% stake in Etisalat Nigeria. Notably, the decision of the popular Middle East-originating telecoms player is on account of the fact that the Nigerian subsidiary could not reach an agreement with a consortium of Nigerian and foreign banks on a $1.2B loan that had gone bad.
Meanwhile, ICYMI, Access Bank and the other Nigerian and foreign banks, had since taken over the management of Etisalat Nigeria, effective June 15, but there has lately been another intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission with a view to working out a less aggressive dispute resolution process.
Access Bank GMD, Mr. Herbert Wigwe