The Nigerian Federal Government said that MTN had paid N80 billion out of the N330, while still owing the country about N250 billion based on agreement following the violation.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu at a meeting which was arranged by NAN in Abuja.
Following the violation of the law, Nigerian Federal Government fined MTN with 5.1 million dollar (N1.04 trillion) but the Government later reduced the money to N330 billion.
The Minister said “For the first year, they paid N80 billion, after paying the initial N50 billion, and they will have to pay for three years until they complete the N330 billion,”
Mr. Shittu stated: “MTN does not have a choice, when the law was made, it said for every unregistered SIM card in use, the fine is N200,000, the law never anticipated that one company will be in violation to the tune of millions of lines.
“It was inconceivable, so when the thing was added 200,000 times 5.2 million lines, it came to a trillion plus.
“When it happened, MTN did four things; one they accepted that they were in default, two, they apologised for that and three they committed themselves never to allow such a thing to happen and number four, they asked for remission.
“Government had to look at a number of factors because if they have to pay this amount; they will pack up.
“We also knew that we invited the international community to come and invest and anything that will be done which will shake the confidence of international investors in Nigerian economy, we must avoid it.”
However, the fined might make MTN to pack up in Nigerian, So the Government decided to be thoughtful by reducing the price rate, saying that unemployment would increase if MTN pack up in the country.
Mr. Shittu explained “Consequently, we must not throw away the baby with the bath water, if they had packed up and left, let us assume all their staff are not more than 5, 000, it means all of those 5,000 will lose their jobs,”
“Also those who made investment, and bought their shares will lose their equity and the Nigeria banking sector would go into crisis.” He added
He said that if the government fined any company and could not able to pay the money for any reason, the person can ask for reconsideration according to court system.