South African telecoms giant MTN has on Monday, November 16, announced that it has been granted a respite for the payment of a massive $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company in Nigeria to allow for negotiations.It would be recalled, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC had slapped the penalty on Africa’s largest telecoms firm for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards.
The deadline for the fine to be paid was November 16, but the company announced that the NCC had agreed that it will not be payable until the end of negotiations entered into by acting executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, who has taken on Dabengwa’s role for six months.
According to the statement: “Shareholders are advised that the executive chairman of the company, Mr Phuthuma Nhleko, has personally met with the Nigerian authorities to continue the ongoing discussions with them regarding the fine.”
“These discussions include matters of non-compliance and the remedial measures that may have to be adopted to address this.
“Shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded.”
Bear also in mind that Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country – is MTN group’s largest market, where it is having over 62.8 million subscribers.