Creditors have lost their battle to take over mobile giant Etisalat.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) staved off the planned takeover by a consortium of banks the company is owing over N200 billion.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta broke the news yesterday at a conference shortly after the opening of the” NCC’s Year of Consumer”, which was held at its headquarters in Abuja.
He said NCC, as part of its strategic partnership, intervened in the matter to save the industry from a major calamity, but added that more negotiations would yet take place among the stakeholders.
Danbatta said the NCC and the CBN scheduled another meeting for next week among the major actors, pointing out that shareholders would also be involved in the talks to ensure an amicable resolution of the problem.
“At this point, let me assure you that there is no cause for alarm regarding the matter; the regulators are on top of the situation and details of the resolution would be made available within the next couple of weeks.”
“The NCC and the CBN have to intervene regarding this issue, particularly in a manner that will not disturb the business operations of all the parties involved and in the larger interest of the nation’s economy.”
He spoke of how in 2015, consumers spent $5.6 billion on telecommunications services.
The NCC chief said:
“And in 2016, they topped it up by another 1 billion dollars to make it $6.6 billion.”
“Today’s event is remarkable and more remarkable is that the year 2017 is dedicated to the Nigerian Telecom consumer – a management decision that compels us to seek to amplify our activities towards ensuring that the consumer enjoys a consumer experience that is enhanced and consistent in time and granted.”
“Just as their patronage is important, they must not and cannot be taken for granted. NCC knows and recognises this. That is why 2017 and I dare say, and even beyond the consumer will be be our focus. NCC intends to inform and educate the consumer with the sole intent to protecting and empowering them to make the right decisions.”
Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu said the government had articulated its position and direction on issues that are key to ICT development at global and national levels, in collaboration with the NCC.
He said the Ministry was working on formulating cogent policies, frameworks and guidelines on protecting ICT consumers, especially in telecommunications.
The minister said:
“Nigeria has established itself as one of the fastest growing (and as such one of the most important) mobile cellular markets in the world. The normal anticipated consumer data-base should be hosting about 450 million records of users, if each consumer joins at least two networks vendors, with each having at least a single SIM card.”