$1.2B DEBT: HOW NCC, CBN SAVED ETISALAT FROM RUNNING OUT OF BUSINESS

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[Etisalat]–The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has successfully staved off the takeover of Etisalat Nigeria telecommunications company by a consortium of banks over a loan of $1.2billion.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed this yesterday at a news conference shortly after the flag off of the “NCC’s Year of Consumer”, held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

He said NCC, and  its strategic collaboration and partnership with the CBN waded into the matter to save the industry from a major calamity, adding that more negotiations would take place on the matter as another meeting has been scheduled for next week between the major actors and shareholders to ensure amicable resolution of the problem.

“At this point, let me assure 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 CBN have to intervene regarding this issue particularly in a manner that will not disturb the business operations of all the parties involved,” Danbatta asserted.

While speaking on the flag-off ceremony, Danbatta said, “in 2015, Nigerian telecom consumers spent a whopping $5.6 billion on telecommunication services. And in 2016, they topped it up by another $1 billion to make it $6.6 billion.”

He included that “the year 2017 is dedicated to the Nigerian telecoms 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 even beyond, the consumer will be our focus. NCC intends to inform and educate consumers with the sole intent of protecting and empowering them to make the right decisions.”

In his own statement, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said the Federal Government collaboration with the NCC reveals the government commitment to issues that are key to ICT development at national and international levels.

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 database 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.”




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