The Federal Government will open talks with MTN Nigeria over the N780 billion fine, imposed on the telecommunications company after confirming receipt of the N50 billion part payment made by the firm.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had last October slammed MTN Nigeria with a N1.04 trillion fine, which was later reduced to N780 billion, for failing to disconnect 51. Million Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards from its network.
Dissatisfied with the fine reduction, MTN dragged the Nigerian Government before a Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking to stop the payment of the fine.
However, the telecommunications company last month indicated willingness to settle out-of-court.
A statement on Wednesday issued by MTN Nigeria and disclosing the part payment of the sum of N50bn to the federal government described the move “as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution”.
Reacting to the development yesterday, the government confirmed that the firm has withdrawn the suit it filed before a Lagos High Court challenging the NCC’s action.
With the “down payment”, government said the coast is now clear for it to listen to further talks on the matter.
Minister of Communications Technology, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, who confirmed the payment, said the development was in line with what the government asked the firm to do.
A statement by the minister’s Senior Assistant (Media) Victor Oluwadare, explained that the receipt of the N50billion payment will allow the Federal Government to entertain further negotiation on the fine with MTN.
“It is now confirmed that MTN has made a down payment of N50 billion and withdrawn the case against NCC pending negotiation on the settlement (of the outstanding N730billion)”.