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'MTN fine not adjusted objectively' says SA-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce

'MTN fine not adjusted objectively' says SA-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is likely to be using an arbitrary method in order to determine adjustments to what was originally a $5.6 billion fine according to the South Africa-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce.

MTN announced on Thursday that the NCC had revised its fine to 35% (674 Billion Naira) only to send out confirmation on Friday that the regulatory body had adjusted the fine again to a reduction of 25% (780 Billion Naira).

Communication from the NCC confirmed that while the fine has been reduced, the payment data remains set for 31 December. MTN also indicated that neither sets of communication provides any details on how the reduction was determined.

MTN is a member of the SA-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and its counterpart in Nigeria.

SA-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce board member, Francis Osuya says although the initial fine is said to have been determined without bias at a rate of one thousand US dollars per unregistered line, the NCC may no longer be using an objective method to make adjustments to the fine.

"I think MTN understands how business is done in the Nigerian market. In a developed country the newspapers criticise the government and that is what most people will do and while you do that the people switch off. MTN did not go that route, instead they engaged the government constructively. I believe it is the constructive engagement that MTN took, the approach that they took that also helped.The NCC could have said these people did not go to the newspapers to say negative things about us so let's take a look at it and reduce the burden on the company."

Osuya also told ITWeb Africa that MTN's membership entitles the company to support from the Chamber in an effort to ensure that the company's investments in Nigeria are not wasted.

Fair reduction indeterminable

Osuy added,"A fair reduction or a debate on what is fair or not fair is subjective. For some people what would be fair is MTN not having to pay anything at all while for others it would be a 0% reduction others may put it at 10%. You really cannot determine what a fair reduction is. For me the fact that the reduction has been considered is positive."

MTN said it would consider both letters from the NCC and engage with the authority before making a final decision.

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