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The Federal Government has explained
that the reason it reduced the
$5.2billion fine slammed on MTN
Nigeria was to encourage foreign
investments in the country.
The Minister of Communications,
Adebayo Shittu, made the disclosure on
Sunday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital
at an award ceremony in honour of
Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of
According to the minister, the Federal
Executive Council, FEC, took cognizance
of the negative impact the burden of
paying the record fine would have had
on the nation, its people and the
economy at arriving at the decision to
reduce the penalty.
The Nigerian Communications
Commission, NCC, last October
slammed the fine on the
telecommunications giant for violating
the directive of the regulatory body in
MTN Nigeria was accused of disobeying
the NCC’s directive to all telecoms
service providers in the country to
register subscribers and disconnect
After repeated warnings to comply
with its directive was ignored, at the
expiration of the deadline the
regulatory body gave to all telecoms
service providers, MTN Nigeria was
handed a $1,000 fine for each of the
5.2 million unregistered subscribers on
its network, which it failed to
disconnect, totaling $5.2 billion (N1.04
trillion at the time).
Mr. Shittu said there was pressure on
the FEC from different quarters, which
later agreed to reduce the fine imposed
on MTN to N330 billion to be paid
within a period of three years.
“As far as we are concerned, the MTN
issue is a closed matter.
“Nigeria as a country must move on.
We must not do anything to drive away
foreign investors. Foreign investments
are potent means of bringing about
development and wealth creation”, he
The minister said that people must not
forget that there were less than
500,000 telephone lines before the
telecom operators came on board.
According to him, “Nigeria now has
more than 152 million lines and MTN is
the dominant operator in the field. It
controls almost 50 per cent of the lines.
“Though, MTN violated the law and
we had to penalise it. We must put a
halt to the limitless crisis so that we
don’t discourage foreign investors.
“That is what the Federal Executive
Council has done to ensure we move
“We know for instance, that MTN
operates in 22 countries.
“What it realises in Nigeria alone is
more than what it realises in the other
21 countries put together”, he added.
Mr. Shittu also advised the telecoms
operators against taking Nigeria and
their customers for granted, warning
that all infractions would be
“The operators owe a duty to
Nigerians to continue to improve on
their services. Nigerians have been
paying through thick and thin to
“To whom much is given, much is
expected”, he said.
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