Reps Express Concerns Over MTN Fine Reduction By FG | WakaWaka Reporters

Reps Express Concerns Over MTN Fine Reduction By FG

The House of Representatives has expressed concerns over the controversy and implications of fine imposed on a mobile telecommunication service provider, MTN.

The lawmakers also said the process leading to the reduction of the N1.040,000,000 ($5.2b) fine by the federal government was not satisfactory.

The House Standing Committee on Communications said the process was flawed because the National Assembly that is constitutionally saddled with the power of the purse was excluded from being part of the process.

Besides, the Committee regretted that the fine and the accompanying error in its multiple reductions had dealt a huge blow to the country’s image among the comity of nations, with uncomplimentary remarks about the error at international fora.

The Committee also expressed reservations over the N6.2b budgeted for Subscriber Identity Module (sim) card registration out of which the Commission said it had spent about N3.5b.

The Committee was mandated by the House to investigate the current impasse in the telecommunication sector.

On the erroneous fine reduction, chairman of the Committee, Saheed Fijabi (APC, Oyo) said it was an embarrassment to Nigeria.

“Our observers may presume that we, as a nation either have no rules of operation with regards to business operations or if we do, we may lack sincerity in our operations.

“It is embarrassing for instance to listen to what the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had to say concerning the present impasse.

“It is equally appalling to observe the conflict in figures with regards to the reduction of the fine and discussions making rounds concerning the action or inaction of the of the National Assembly.”

The Committee also expressed its determination to know what informed the initial fine of  over N1 trillion as well as those  behind the reductions from 35 per cent to 25 per cent.

Fijabi said everyone connected to the issue would be invited for interaction.

The management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), led by its Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta said all the mobile network operators were given the opportunity to reconcile their records before the penalty was handed down.

The total number of invalidated sim cards, according to him was broken down into 11,550,819 million for MTN; 2,654,877 for Etisalat; 824,946 for Glo; 3,500,000 for Airtel; and 297,300 for Visafone.

The EVC however said except for MTN, the other four operators showed substantial compliance by meeting the initial set deadline for the deactivation of the invalidated lines.

He also disclosed that MTN formally agreed to the infractions it was charged with by the regulatory body after failing to adhere to the regulatory body’s directives on unregistered sim cards.

According to him, the deduction of the MTN fine, first 35 percent then  25 per cent was decided by an inter-agency committee since the Commission has no governing board in place yet.

He also stated that MTN was given a deadline of December 31, 2015 to pay the N780b fine

“The process was carried out transparent, we did our duty and as a duty to this country, not for publicity to get at any one,” he added.