The Senate has slammed the executive arm of the government over the manner in which MTN’s N1.04 trillion fine was reduced to N330 billion.
Describing the reduction as short-changing the country, the upper chamber of the National Assembly, therefore, summoned the Attorney General, Governor of Central Bank, Minister of Communications and Accountant General of the federation, to come and explain the parts they played.
The Federal Government, however, explained that the fine was reduced to give impetus to foreign investors in the country. The fine was imposed on the operator by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, last October for failing to cut off some unregistered lines before the given deadline.
“As far as we are concerned, the MTN issue is a closed matter. The Federal Executive Council has remitted a substantial part of the penalty to them. Nigeria as a country must move on. We must not do anything to drive away foreign investors. Foreign investments are potent means of bringing about development and wealth creation,” Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said, weekend, at the venue of an Achiever’s Award ceremony in honour of Senator Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland.
“Again, we must not forget that before MTN and other telecoms operators came on board, Nigeria had only less than 500,000 telephone lines. Today, because of their involvement, Nigeria now has more than 152 million lines and MTN is the dominant operator in the field. It controls almost 50 per cent of the lines. Though they (MTN) have violated the law and we have put in the necessary penalty, we must put a halt to the limitless crisis so that we don’t discourage foreign investors,” he added.