The Federal Government has directed Nigeria largest telecommunications firm, MTN telecommunication to pay the sum of N30 billion in the next eight days.
MTN was sanctioned for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered subscriber identification module (SIM) cards which, some were alleged linked to the Boko Haram insurgents causing chaos in the North Eastern part of the country.
The largest network provider was initially fined $5.2 billion (N1.04 trillion) in 2015. But, in March 2016, following series of interventions, negotiations; a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, in Nigeria; which was said to have lasted for six months, the fine was reduced to N 330 billion.
The severity of the penalty was to serve as a deterrent to other service providers, whose action or inaction is undermining the precarious security situation in the country.
The Government confirmed the payment of part of the fine, the sum of N80bn, to its account last year. The 80bn included the “goodwill” payment of N50 billion in December 2016 and another N30 billion on June 10, 2016. In line to the agreed terms of resolution, the balance of N280bn would be paid to the FG between 2016 and May 31, 2019.
The N30bn due for payment by March 31st 2017, according to records , will sum up to N110 billion the amount paid so far by the South African company .
Other tranche of the payment states that MTN must pay the sum of N30bn by March 31st, 2017, N55bn by March 31st, 2018; N55bn by December 31st, 2018; another N55bn by March 31st, 2019 and finally, the balance of N55bn by May 31st, 2019. These payments are expected to go into Nigeria Communications Commission- NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The telecommunications operator is abiding to the terms of the staggered payment pattern”, the source assured.