NCC, CBN save Etisalat from creditors’ jaws

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and telecom sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at finding a quick resolution to the $1.2billion loan repayment default crisis facing the telco has paid off as reprieve has come the way of the telco.

A tripartite meeting held yesterday succeeded in halting the attempt by Etisalat’s creditors to bring it under any form of take over. “Receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive,” NCC said.

Director, Public Affairs at the NCC, Tony Ojobo, said the meeting, which was held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the carrier agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

A meeting will be held on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward. This is in pursuit of efforts to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while it meets its obligation to the consortium of banks and its over 20 million customers spread across the country.

The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders soon.

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