MTN remains committed to Nigeria’s socioeconomic growth
How else can you judge a responsible corporate citizen? Of course, it is by their actions. For MTN Nigeria, actions definitely speak louder than words.
As a company, MTN Nigeria sets store by the ideas and ideals of doing good is not in doubt. Clearly, one of the recent manifestation of this ideal of doing good was when the firm withdrew its case against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the Federal High Court of Lagos in response to a request by the authorities.
To further demonstrate its goodwill, MTN Nigeria paid N50billion to the Federal Government apparently in its renewed commitment towards an amicable resolution.
It would be recalled that the NCC had imposed a N1.04trillion fine on MTN Nigeria in October 2015, for its failure to disconnect 5.1million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.
The fine was subsequently adjusted by 25% to N780billion, an amount that was considered inimical to the survival of the business. However, MTN Nigeria sought judicial determination in order to protect its business.
As to be expected, MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman while justifying the move, said “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome.”
Certainly, the gesture by MTN Nigeria has been seen by many discerning Nigerians as a very conscious effort by a responsible corporate citizen to do good.
Speaking on the heels of MTN’s gesture, Dr. Austin Nweze, a political economist at the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos Business School, said it is move in the right direction.
According to him, “the move by the telecoms firm bodes well for the country especially now that we seem to be experiencing a parlous state of the economy.”
Pressed further, he said: “By paying N50billion, it shows the company is willing to resolve the issue most amicably. Certainly, I think the gesture shows that the country is not out to cause harm to the foreign-owned businesses. That was the impression being created initially when the issue was being largely debated. So, it is a good thing.”
Jide Abolore, a financial analyst is also on the same page with Nweze.
According to him, “Certainly, with the money paid, it will help the government to offset some pressing financial commitment. But more than that, it is better than obtaining a loan, which has all its conditionalities.”
But while many are savouring this good gesture, the controversy being generated by the payment has been seen in bad faith by those who should know better.
Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, along with the Executive Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria have been asked to appear before the Senate Committee.
The committee noted that in the course of its oversight function specifically in relation to the sanction of N780 billion imposed on MTN, NCC could not offer any proof of receiving money from MTN.
It said that curiously, it was reported that MTN was rather misguided to lodge the said N50 billion into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Recovery Account which is specially designated for recovered looted funds.
In the statement which reads in part, the committee said: “The attention of the Senate Committee on Communications has been drawn to widespread media publications particularly quoting the Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu, as claiming that the Mobile Telecommunications Network, MTN, Nigeria Limited has made a down payment of N50 billion to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, relative to the fine of N780 billion that was imposed on the service provider by the agency.
“The Committee wishes therefore to state clearly that going by the records of NCC whose constitutional mandate it is to superintend the mobile network operations in the country, and also in the prevailing circumstance, reserves the sole right on behalf of the Federal Government, to receive payment of any sort; MTN has unfortunately not in any way complied or shown any commitment whatsoever in this regard.
“For the avoidance of doubt and in the course of the oversight function of the Committee specifically in relation to the sanction, NCC could not offer any proof of receiving money from MTN.
“The Committee also wonders why these willful contradictions would be orchestrated by those considered knowledgeable enough especially in the business of democratic governance.
“Consequently, it has officially summoned all those concerned to appear before it to shed full light on their extent of involvement and or, respective roles in the unacceptable abuse of office.”
But while the jury is still out as to the propriety or otherwise of MTN‘s good gesture, Nigerians will like to know when it has become a crime to honour extant agreement, which in this case MTN Nigeria has done without let and hindrance?
Pray, hope someone is listening?
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