N1tr fine: MTN shares con­tinue to slide

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Zakariyya Adaramola

MTN Group shares again plunged yes­ter­day at the Jo­han­nes­burg Stock Ex­change, mov­ing down by 0.94 per cent, the big­gest four-day drop since 2008.

MTN shares have de­clined by about 20 per cent this week, valu­ing the com­pany at about 284 bil­lion rand ($21 bil­lion).

The com­pany has been hav­ing it rough since Mon­day when it an­nounced it faces a $5.2 bil­lion fine from the Nige­rian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions reg­u­la­tor, NCC.

Mean­while, a source at NCC told Daily Trust in Abuja yes­ter­day the com­mis­sion’s se­nior of­fi­cials have not met with any del­e­ga­tion from MTN Group in South Africa.

He said “It is not true that MTN Group se­nior of­fi­cials have met with us. We have not seen any­body, to the best of my knowl­edge.”

The Nige­rian Communications Com­mis­sion on Mon­day fined N1.4tril­lion for fail­ing to dis­con­nect its sub­scribers who did not sup­ply the re­quired data dur­ing the com­pul­sory SIM cards reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise that ended in 2013.

From 2012 when the SIM reg­is­tra­tion started, any­one buy­ing a SIM card has had to reg­is­ter it un­der their name by law.

But the tele­coms reg­u­la­tor found out in Au­gust that the tele­coms op­er­a­tors did not carry out the ex­er­cise prop­erly on 38.78mil­lion sub­scribers, and they were di­rected to rereg­is­ter the sub­scribers within one month or be sanc­tioned.

NCC’s Head of Com­pli­ance and Mon­i­tor­ing Unit, Efosa Ide­hene said NCC had iden­ti­fied the de­fects that made the sub­scribers’ reg­is­tra­tion to be in­com­plete to in­clude poor fin­ger prints, no fa­cial in­for­ma­tion and other bio­met­ric chal­lenges.

A source in NCC said MTN failed to carry out the com­mis­sion’s direc­tive af­ter re­peated warn­ings, hence the fine.

The fine is the largest in the his­tory of telecom in­fringe­ments in Nige­ria and may re­de­fine the re­la­tion­ships be­tween telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tors and the reg­u­la­tor.

But MTN in a state­ment Mon­day said it was in talks with the NCC over the fine and hoped to re­solve the mat­ter soon.

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