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 Monday on the side-lines of a valedictory press briefing by Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu.
Danbatta said emanating from the major industry dispute, Nigerians now have the opportunity to own part of the mobile telecommunications network following the public listing of the company at the Nigeria Stock Exchange last Thursday.
The NCC boss said, “We have succeeded in empowering Nigerians to own, control and manage one of the dominant telecommunication companies in the country by MTN listing in the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“Arising from the settlement agreement reached with MTN through the payment of N330bn to government coffers of which they have paid N235bn remaining the last tranche.
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 at 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 spread 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 was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange at N90 per share.