MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa has arrived in Nigeria to negotiate with the Federal Government over the N1.04trn fine imposed on the telecom firm by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for violating its directive on the deactivation of unregistered SIMs.
Dabengwa, who served as CEO of MTN Nigeria between 2004 and 2006, is expected to meet with the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Umaru Garba Danbatta, National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd.), and Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, to negotiate a soft landing for the company.
MTN has until November 16 to pay the fine, which relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million subscribers and is based on a charge of N200,000 for each unregistered customer not disconnected from its network.
MTN is Africa’s largest mobile operator, with over 200 million subscribers across the continent, with a large market share in South Africa and Nigeria. It also has a large presence in the Middle East.
However, its stock began to tumble last week following the fine by Nigerian regulators for not disconnecting up to five million unregistered SIM cards.
Giving reasons for the fine, NCC had said the commission had consistently engaged Mobile Network Operators, (MNOs) to strictly adhere to the regulations and its business rules in the registration of their subscribers. But despite all of these several engagements, the commission said it confirmed various cases of violations of the regulations and sanctioned appropriately.
In it’s statement, “Given the recent security concerns in the country, government held several meetings with MNOs on the need to ensure only properly registered SIM cards are active on their networks,” NCC had said while announcing the fine slammed on the firm.