By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has disclosed that the fine penalty imposed on the MTN by the federal government for breaching the laws guiding telecoms operation in Nigeria is already “a closed matter”.
Answering questions from newsmen over the weekend at the 2016 Achievers Award of Excellence bestowed on the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun by an Abuja-based organization held at the Jogor Centre, Ibadan, the Minister said the Federal Executive Council has taken a decision on the MTN fine thereby making it “a closed matter”.
Barrister Shittu hinted that Federal Government has decided to put the issue of the fine against MTN behind it so as not to have any negative effect on the influx of investments into the Nigeria.
“The MTN fine is a closed matter. The Executive of the Federal Government has taken a decision. They (MTN) have remitted a substantial part of the penalty to them (Government). And as far as I am concerned, it is a closed matter. Nigeria must move on,” he said.
The Minister stressed that “we must not do anything to drive away foreign investments because foreign investments are potent means of bringing about employment, creating wealth, creating development”.
Speaking further, he said “even if they had violated the laws, we have put in the necessary penalty and I think that in the interest of continuing to encourage foreign investors, we must put a halt to the limitless crisis. So, that was what the Federal Executive Council has done to ensure that we move ahead”.
“And we know that before MTN and others came on board, Nigeria had only less than 500,000 phone lines. Today, because of the assistance that MTN and other operators have brought to Nigeria, we have more than 152 million lines. And MTN is the dominant operator in the field. They control more than almost 50 per cent of the lines”.
Barrister Shittu however emphasized that the time has come for telecommunications operators in the country to continue to improve on their services as Nigerians have been paying through thick and thin to enjoy and patronize the operators, saying “to whom much is given, much more is expected”.
“My message to the telecommunications operators in Nigeria now is that they have a duty to Nigeria to continue to improve on their services”.
MTN fine saga already “a closed matter” – Minister
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.