Considering the term in the agreed payment plan of the reduced N330b fine on MTN Nigeria for breaches in deactivating unregistered SIM cards by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms giant is billed to pay another tranch of N30bn by month end.
The payment will raise total money paid to about N110 billion having paid N80 billion before the end of last year.
Because of the diplomatic horse trading that played out within the early stage of the matter, both the NCC and MTN agreed and staggered the fine payment till 2019.
Amehnews recalls that MTN was initially fined $5.2 billion (N1.04 trillion) in 2015, for failing to comply with the SIM registration regulations of the NCC which it was part of the stakeholders that okayed the regulation in 2011.
After the expected month end payment of N30b, the remaining balance will follow thus; March 31, 2018 (N55 billion), December 31, 2018 (N55 billion), March 31, 2019 (N55 billion) and the balance of N55 billion on May 31, 2019.
In line with the federal government income policy, the payments are expected to go into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Series of high level interventions and negotiations peaked at the presidential level when the South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma visited President Muhammadu Buhari to plead on behalf of the firm amongst other African matters exactly one year ago.
However, observers are not aware if the diplomatic horse trading that prevailed within the period at the presidential level later snowballed to the upper chambers of the National Assembly who began a probe of alleged transfer of about $13.9bn without due process involving MTN group late last year as the Senate suddenly became silent on the matter since this year.
Many Nigerians who were asked whether they can remember the extend of the matter at the Senate Committee cannot guess the state of the matter.