The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, has disclosed that leading telecommunications service provider MTN Nigeria paid the country N55 billion in the last two weeks.
He said the payment was part of the N330 billion that the commission imposed on the company for failing to properly register subscribers.
Danbatta said that the company has so has far paid N165 billion, representing 50 percent of the fine.
The NCC boss made this known when some MTN Director paid a courtesy call on him in Abuja on Monday after a strategic board meeting of the MTN group held in Nigeria.
Danbatta equally disclosed that the National Frequency Management Council has decided that the company could keep a controversial frequency it acquired from the National Broadcasting Commission for N30 billion.
However, he said the company is required to use the frequency for telecommunication rather broadcast services.
Danbatta said, “I am delighted that you chose to have this strategic meeting in Nigeria. We always try to find pragmatic ways to engage with all operators, including the MTN.
“The National Frequency Management Council has accepted our recommendation that the 700 Megahertz spectrum that was assigned to you by a sister agency, the National Broadcasting Commission, (which has been on hold) should stay with you on condition that you use it for telecommunications services instead of broadcast services.
“Part of the fine was paid in March. Not more than two weeks ago, we received a cheque for N 55bn . So far, MTN has paid more than 50 per cent of the fine . That would translate to N 165 bn . The payment they are making is consistent with the terms of agreement we reached with them.”
He also said , “There was an amicable settlement and agreement leading to the way the fine is being paid. So far, they have not reneged . This information should go out.
“The whole idea of that exercise was not to bring MTN to its knees. We just wanted to ensure that it is not business as usual . More than the fine , we wanted to ensure that the rules of engagement are respected. That is all.
“Left to me, the sanction wouldn’t have been necessary but because the rules were there clearly stipulating what should be done in such a situation, the EVC did not have much option but to play by the dictates of the rules governing engagement in the telecommunications sector of the economy.”
NCC had in 2014 imposed a N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria for failing to deregister improperly registered subscribers on its network.
After intense negotiations with NCC and the Federal Government, the fine was reduced to N330 billion.