ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – There are indications that Nigeria’s National Communications Commission (NCC) will not enforce a $5.2 billion fine on South Africa’s MTN until negotiations have been concluded, the telecommunications company said on Monday.
The company, which earns 37 percent of its revenues in Nigeria, last week appointed former chief executive Phuthuma Nhleko as executive chairman for six months to negotiate with Nigerian authorities to get more favourable terms on the fine for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards.
“Although the Nigerian Communications Commission set a deadline for payment of the fine by Monday, 16 November 2015, shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded,” MTN said in a statement Monday morning.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
MTN and Nigeria are still in negotiations, the company added, after it had on Sunday denied reports that it had asked to settle the fine in staggered payments.
NCC imposed the fine following MTN’s inability or refusal to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards within the stipulated deadline.
The South African government had launched a diplomatic offensive to make Nigeria rescind or at least reduce the fine.