No plans to send MTN out of Nigeria – FG
Minister of Communications Technology, Adebayo Shittu, who made this remark, insisted that the Nigerian government was not planning to send the company out of the country.
The Minister stated this on Thursday while reacting to the allegation of plot by Federal Government to crush the telecom company through the ongoing N1.04 trillion saga slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
The minister said it was of no benefit to the country to see MTN die.
He said, ‘‘We do not want anybody to have the impression that Nigerian government wants to kill MTN, it is not in the best interest of Nigeria to kill MTN. MTN is a Nigerian company, most of their shareholders are Nigerians, it is registered as Nigerian company in the interest of Nigerians.
‘‘They even brought libration to us in the area of GSM operation when we had less than 500,000 line in a population of 150 million people. When we wanted to go digital (GSM), they were one of the few companies that successfully exploded into Nigerian ecosystem.
‘‘They also made life easier for us. They have been paying tax, and Nigerians have been employed. So, we don’t want to kill MTN. But that is not to say that when infractions have been committed, that sanctions will not follow. If sanctions follow, and there are disputes around it, it will be resolved.’’
On why the matter has been lingering, the minister added, ‘‘it is not as if the dispute will not end. I see the concern they have shown, whether they have shown commitment to resolve the dispute, my position is that negotiations have not started at all. What the Ministry of Justice did is to get them show commitment for the real negotiation.
‘‘They have done both pre-conditions, and if they have done both, the next thing is to sit at the negotiation table to start negotiation.’’
The Minister further urged the public to always get the facts right before jumping into conclusion, insisting that the N50 billion payment by MTN was consequent upon their fulfillment of the preconditions given to them by the Ministry of Justice.