NCC: 9mobile's sale not truncated by $100m debt

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Regulator of the telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the transfer of  9mobile to Teleology Holdings Limited its preferred bidder, was not being truncated by an alleged $100million outstanding debts owed by the telco.

Its Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, who spoke on the sidelines of the opening of the Second Stakeholders Forum with the Academia at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, said there was no  truth in the media reporto making the allegation.

He said while he fielded questions from the international media in Durban, South Africa, during the recently concluded International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Conference, he did not allude to any debt profile regarding 9mobile.

Speaking on the necessity of a strong synergy between the NCC and the Academia as well as telcos, Prof Danbatta said the stakeholders’ forum was organised to discuss matters that are germane to the development of the telecoms industry in the country.

He added that the topic for this year's forum: Academia, Accelerator for Innovation, Industry Growth and Sustainability was in line with ITU vision for ICT related fields globally.

He said: " At this same venue last year, we promised an encore, a continuity of the stakeholders forum with Academia which we hope will continue to provide us the platform to engage each other on how the academia can be more involved with the telecoms industry, develop more tangible relationships with the operators while seeking opportunities to be more engaged in the activities of the sector and contribute to producing the much needed manpower."

He said the universities are the driving power of innovations in the country  hence the resolve of NCC to bring all stakeholders together to facilitate research and development that would be more impactful and sustainable for the overall growth of the industry.

He said the NCC committed over N50 million to research activities in the various universities across the nation in the previous year, stating that the amount is increasing just as the Commission is encouraging operators to support the efforts through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

Dambatta said : "We will not stop operators from repatriating their profits, but we believe it should be done within the ambit of the law. And we will also appeal that operators should endeavour to give back to the host communities by supporting initiatives that would promote the wellbeing of the people .

"While it is important that we look at these issues, among many others, I think it is my responsibility to submit that while the telcoms industry continues to grow amidst noticeable challenges, hitting over 13m voice subscriber base at the moment with appreciable foreign direct investment inflow of about $67 billion since 2001, the commission has been steadfast in holding on to what is set out to achieve in research and development."

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