MTN Withdraws Suit Against NCC, Pays N50bn

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Ahmad Farroukh, MD, MTN

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AT last the MTN Nigeria has withdraw the law suit it instituted against the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, at the federal high court in Lagos and also paid N50 billion to the industry regulator on Wednesday, February 24.

According to the MTN, the decision to withdraw the court case followed the renewed steps it took towards a negotiated settlement and to create a conducive atmosphere for further negotiations.

The MTN had gone to court to challenge the powers of NCC to impose a whopping N1.04 trillion fine on the telecoms company, for contravening the directives of the NCC on SIM card deactivation.

Despite the fact that the NCC had reduced the fine by 25 percent, bringing it to N780 billion after several pleas for leniency by the MTN, the telecoms company still went to court, not satisfied with the reduced amount. Although the court was yet to meet to decide the matter, the MTN continued with its negotiations with the federal government and the NCC, on how best to address the matter amicably without rancour.

But the federal government had refused to have further negotiations with the MTN and had given the company the option of withdrawing the case before opening up further discussions on the matter.

The MTN Nigeria, however, withdrew its case against the NCC at the federal high court of Lagos to allow for fruitful negotiation. .

Ferdi Moolman, chief executive officer, MTN Nigeria, speaking on the issue said: “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome. “We are hopeful at this stage. Along with the authorities, it is clear that we are collectively committed to working towards a solution that is of mutual benefit to all parties. Our industry in Nigeria is an incredibly important example of the remarkable progress in information and communications technology, ICT, particularly as a much needed catalyst for socio economic growth and development at this time.”

He explained that the MTN Nigeria had paid N50 billion to the federal government as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution.

The NCC had imposed a N1.04 Trillion fine on the MTN Nigeria in October 2015, for its failure to disconnect 5.2 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline. Subsequently the fine was adjusted by 25 percent to N780 billion, an amount that the MTN considered inimical to the survival of the business.

—  Feb 24, 2016 @ 17:20 GMT

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