$1.2B DEBT: CBN, NCC SAVE ETISALAT FROM CRISIS

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[Lagos]–The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have succeeded in halting the plan  of a consortium of 13 local banks to take over the operations of Etisalat for failure to continue with the refinancing of the loan that the telecoms company took from the banks in 2013.

In a statement by the spokesman for NCC, Tony Ojobo, said reprieve came for the mobile network operator during a meeting held on Friday in Lagos between the CBN, the telecoms company and its creditors.

According to the statement, receivership was completely taken off the table of the very productive and constructive meeting.

“The meeting, which held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

“The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

“CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear that everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

“Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while the consortium of banks meet their obligations to their customers, a meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward.

“The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon,” the statement read.

Etisalat had  in 2013, taken a loan of $1.2 billion from a consortium of 13 local banks for network expansion and upgrade, but defaulted in the refinancing of the loan, while blaming its inability to refinance the loan on devaluation of Naira and scarcity of dollar.

THE PAGE had reported earlier that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it has started discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some commercial banks in the country over the unpaid loans issue they have with Etisalat Nigeria.




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