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page 21 Page 21 $5.2 fine: NCC rejects MTN’s request of 80% reduction By Zakariyya Adaramola & Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)…

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Page 21

$5.2 fine: NCC rejects MTN’s request of 80% reduction

By Zakariyya Adaramola & Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday insisted on full payment of the N1.4trillion fine imposed on MTN three weeks ago for regulatory infraction even as the regulator extended the deadline till end of its talks with the telecoms company, Daily Trust heard.

This came yesterday as MTN announced that it had reached a compromise with Nigerian authorities that the fine wouldn’t be paid until negotiations have been concluded.

“Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded”, the telecoms company said in a statement.

But an NCC official told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday that NCC may not acceded to the MTN request of reduction in the fine by 80 per cent.

“We told them there is nothing like that; no 80 per cent reduction but some concessions may be made on when to pay it and how to pay it”, the NCC official who pleaded anonymity said.

An MTN official had told Daily Trust on Sunday that they were closed to resolving the issue. Asked if MTN will pay the fine before the close of work today, the official who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press said “we may resolve the issue soon.”

The fine was imposed on the South African telecoms company by NCC on October 26 for failing to cut off subscribers with unregistered SIM cards. Nigerian telecoms regulator insisted then that the fine must be paid on or before November 16.

A federal government official hinted that government may not slam further sanction on the telecoms company. “I don’t think the government will impose further sanction if MTN fails to pay tomorrow. They are asking for more time, and it may or may not be granted.

The new communication technology minister Barrister Adebayo Shittu had told Reuters on Friday that Nigerian does not want MTN to close shop as a result of the fine, but that it must obey the regulator’s directive.

“Nobody wants MTN to die. Nobody wants MTN to shut down”, he said.

Barrister Shittu, who was sworn-in Wednesday, also said there was “nothing before me,” adding, “If any new thing would happen, there must be initiative from concerned quarters. It is up to MTN.”

“A judgment has been given, as it were, and the period for enforcement has not yet passed”, the minister added.

The Head of Research of Renaissance Capital (RenCap), Mr. Adesoji Solanke, had shared a note with clients where he said, “MTN is pushing to reduce the fine by 60 per cent to 80 per cent.” A second lender was also quoted to have said that “MTN is considering borrowing from banks as it recently checked what the banks’ lending capacity to it is.”

Since the announcement of the fine, MTN’s shares had lost nearly 25 per cent of their value. The $5.2 billion fine also led to the resignation of the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, Mr. Sifiso Dabengwa last week.

TSA: Commission will be reviewed soon, CBN says

By Chris Agabi

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said all the parties involved in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) remittance will soon be invited to a discussion on new terms of their commissions.

The CBN Director, Communications, Ibrahim Muazu, told our correspondent on the phone yesterday that it’s critical all the parties now come on discussion table to review the charges. He declined to give specifics on what that would occur.

On why the CBN ordered a refund of all commissions collected thus far by SystemSpecs, the owners of the Remita platform deployed to collect the TSA monies, he said, that decision was necessary since the Senate had ordered an investigation into the matter.

According to him, it is when all the issues around the commission are sorted that all parties would get their agreed commissions.

Recall Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) last week alleged on the floor of the Senate that the firm has earned N25 billion for facilitating compliance of TSA, a claim SystemSpecs has denied as untrue as the commission thus far earned by all parties is about N7.6 billion.

The firm also described the N2.5 trillion transaction volume Senator Malaye claimed it has processed as false, saying only N1.36 trillion passed through the 20 participating banks and its platform from the inception of the project to date.

However, findings buy our reporter shows that the 1 percent commission previous agreed upon with the Office of the Account General of the Federation (OAGF) may be slashed by some 50 percent.

A source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity said, the CBN and other relevant stakeholders may settle for .05 percent of the total funds remitted through Remitta’s platform and that would be about N4 billion thus far.

Findings show that the OAGF had previously sought for the commission to be reviewed download following the magnitude of funds Remita wil process during the TSA implementation. That never occurred until the Senate raised dust over the commission.

the sharing formula was SystemSpecs .05 per cent, the banks .04 per cent and the CBN.01 per cent.

Thus far, transaction inflow via the TSA showed that SystemSpecs is to refund N3.8 billion in commission; 20 banks to refund N3.05 billion and the CBN is to refund N760.96 million in commission.

Information from SystemSpecs show that N241.3 billion passed through Zenith Bank; United Bank for Africa, N150.08 billion; FirstBank, N122.01 billion; Skye Bank, N39.62 billion and First City Monument Bank, N39.15 billion among others.

Others are Access Bank, N39.33 billion; Diamond Bank, N27.28 billion; Ecobank Nigeria, N15.51 billion; GTBank, N8.78 billion; Union Bank, N14.93 billion; Wema Bank, N26.68 billion among others.

Dangote resigns from flour coy board as Tiger Brands cuts funding

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and three other directors resigned from the board of Dangote Flour Mills on Monday as majority owner Tiger Brands cut funding support to its struggling Nigerian division.

South Africa’s Tiger Brands said it was “currently exploring various alternatives with regard to its investment in Dangote Flour Mills, which also announced a change of name to Tiger Branded Consumer Goods Plc.

Aliko Dangote holds 10 percent of the company’s equity in through Dangote Industries. The other directors who resigned are Olakunle Alake, Asue Ighodalo and Arnold Ekpe.

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