MTN Fine: Payment Deadline Not Feasible – Minister

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Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, on Wednesday said that the December 31, 2015 deadline given to MTN Nigeria to pay the N780bn fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission was no longer feasible.

He said that the ministry would await the determination of the court in the case between the NCC and MTN Nigeria before knowing further actions to be taken on the matter.

Shittu stated this at the head office of Omatek Ventures in Lagos as part of his official visit to stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology sector.

According to him, nobody wants the downfall of MTN or any other company in the country, whether local or international.

“The case is already in court; so, it is difficult to comment on such a matter. However, the ministry will await the determination of the court before any further action will be taken on the matter,” the minister said.

He added that neither the ministry nor the NCC had singled out any telecommunications company for punishment, “but the onus is on the service providers to understand and obey rules and regulations that govern their operations in the country.”

Shittu told stakeholders that a blueprint that would further develop the ICT sector, with focus on local content growth, would be unveiled in the third week of January 2016.

He, however, said there would not be much departure from the foundation already laid by his predecessor, Dr. Omobola Johnson.

“By the time the blueprint is unveiled, whatever my predecessor left on ground would form part of it. The change mantra is to improve on regulation in the industry,” Shittu said.

He commended the efforts of indigenous ICT players like Omatek for their pioneering role in the sector and promised that all efforts would be channelled towards ensuring that their products and services attracted patronage.