Reduction of N1.04 Trillion MTN Fine – Senate Expresses Dismay
The Senate has summoned the Attorney General, Governor of Central Bank, Minister of Communication and Accountant General of the Federation to come and explain their roles in the slash of MTN fine from N1.04 trillion to N330 billion.
The fine which was imposed by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, last October, 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 approximately N1.03 trillion
Meanwhile the Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, at the venue of an Achiever’s Award ceremony in honour of Senator Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, weekend, said there was need to give foreign investors impetus to continue investing in the country and that the reduction was one of those strategies.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, expressed dismay over the settlement agreement of N330 billion reached with MTN, out of a whopping N1.04 trillion.
He said: “As a Committee and representatives of the Nigerian people, we are saddened about this development at a time when the Nigerian economy needs all the available capital infusion to bolster it.
“It is our strong opinion that Nigeria has been shortchanged in this whole process on account of the ridiculous settlement payment plan; coupled with the disparity in the exchange rate regime when the fine was imposed ab initio compared with the current prevailing exchange rate when it was agreed to cut the fine to N330 billion.”
Senator Nnaji lamented very strongly that “NCC could engage in such a negotiation that is tainted with a lot of questionable conclusions without the knowledge of the Committee.
“The committee is worried about this development because it is on record that during our last investigative meeting with all the relevant parties to this matter on Thursday, March 10, 2016, the Committee was informed that the case was still in court and that it was adjourned till March 18.
“The committee was not aware of the outcome of the court case neither was it privy to any active negotiation that led to the fine being reduced to N330 billion.
“It is our concern that Nigeria has been shortchanged in this whole process on account of the ridiculous settlement payment plan; coupled with the fact that parties involved in the negotiation were either oblivious of the exchange rate value of the Naira to the Dollar when the sanction was meted out originally, compared to current exchange rate regime when the value of the Naira is now on the downward slide.”