The Federal Government on Thursday confirmed that MTN Nigeria had made a payment of N50bn towards resolving its protracted dispute with the Nigeria Communications Commission over a fine of N1.04tn.
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Communications, Mr. Victor Oluwadamidare, made the confirmation in a statement made available to our correspondent.
Oluwadamidare described the N50bn as part payment, adding that the withdrawal of the case against the NCC and the payment had opened the door for further negotiations with MTN as requested by the company.
He said, “They have withdrawn the court case instituted against the Federal Government and the NCC and requested for further negotiations. This, the government, is willing to grant. You cannot stop listening to people.
“This clarification became necessary in view of the promise we made to keep Nigerians aware of what is happening as soon the information is available.”
MTN was slammed with the penalty in October 2015 after it missed a deadline to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards from its network
The regulation guiding SIM card registration in the country had spelt that allowing an unregistered subscriber on a telecommunications network in the country would attract a penalty of N200, 000.
It imposed a $5.2bn fine that was later reduced to $3.9bn following an appeal and negotiation by the hierarchy of MTN.
Not satisfied with the level of reduction, MTN had approached the court to deter the government and the regulatory authority from taking any action by the end of the deadline for the payment of the fine.
Answering questions from journalists at the recent unveiling of the Communications Sector Road map for the period 2016 – 2019 in Abuja, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, had ruled out the possibility of out of court settlement until MTN had withdrawn the suit it instituted.