MTN seeks relationship restoration with NCC
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
MTN has expressed its desire to restore its relationship with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), insisting that it has the highest regard for the regulator regardless of the current situation in the industry.
The operator and the regulator are currently locked in legal battle over the fine of N780billion slammed on the carrier for failing to deactivate about 5.2million subscriber identity module (SIM) cards pre-registered on its network.
Speaking to ICT reporters in Lagos at the weekend, the new CEO of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman and Corporate Service Executive, Amina Oyagbola, expressed confidence in the administration of NCC.
Moolman said the telco firm was ready to restore relationship with the NCC so that industry could move forward.
Oyagbola said the regulators are the most important stakeholder as far as the industry is concerned, restating that "we have utmost respect for them."
According to her, the path to reconciliation is to correct any area where the firm had erred in the past.
She said, "The approach is to take the steps lined up to move the industry forward, correct where we have erred in the past, ensure good business relationship with all stakeholders in the industry. It start with show of good faith; speaking the truth. We want to restore and generate more goodwill."
Moolman said the resolution of the unprecedented fine is very important to the firm stressing that the fine amounted to about 95 per cent of their total revenue for a year.
MTN appealed to subscribers affected negatively by on-going re-registration of SIM cards to show understanding, stressing that the whole process will benefit everybody in the country.
He said the existence of a solid database of MTN subscribers has become imperative because of the next revolution in the telecoms sector which is broadband.
Oyagbola said MTN imported a new set of equipment and hired about 10,000 contract staff for the re-registration process, adding that the carrier was committed to supporting the government in building a reliable national database.
According to her, the firm is doing the registration afresh, stressing that it will be done in batches, which should be completed in the next six months.
She said, "We are sorry about the number of time a subscriber had to revisit our outlet. The target is to have an accurate data base from our own end and then synchronise it with that of the regulator. It is a huge exercise. We have placed order for SIM registration equipment from the manufacturers, but they claimed to have run out of stocks because it is not only Nigeria that is registering subscribers. They gave us till March for them to have stocks."
Moolman lamented the impact of the falling oil prices and fluctuating foreign exchange which have made importation of equipment Herculean task.
He said, "It is really disturbing and it has become more difficult to import equipment from abroad. These two issues of falling oil prices and fluctuating foreign exchange regime are serious issues, but we confident about the Central Bank of Nigeria's efforts in resolving the matter."