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N50b paid by MTN not a concessionaire fee, says minister


Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication

Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu yesterday disclosed that the N50 billion paid by MTN was not a concessionaire fee but part of the actual sum imposed by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

Shittu stated this in Ibadan, Oyo State while speaking as the guest of honour at the roundtable programme organized by the League of Veteran Journalists, Oyo State chapter.

He said the company had earlier admitted that it failed to register about 5.2 million out of the 22 million lines on its network, apologized and confessed to the offence and pleaded for a review of the fine. Shittu clarified that the money paid to NCC by MTN was not the actual fine imposed on it, saying the penalty would be paid after the House of Representatives concluded its investigation on the matter.

The minister, who restated government’s resolve to continually penalise any firm that fails to register subscribers on its network, lamented that the failure of those companies to fully register their subscribers has made several criminal activities such as kidnapping of the former Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Olu Falae and other prominent Nigerians easy because the lines used to communicate to the families were not traceable to any individual. This, he said has caused the country more harm than the actual fine.

On the hardship currently being faced by Nigerians, the minister pleaded for patience and assured that things would be better in due course. “I want Nigerians to be patient with the government, things are tough but we must do the needful to make the country great.”

Speaking on the potentials of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Shittu said efforts were in top gear to turn the agency from a mere service company into a big business conglomerate. He said the government through the ministry would use the potentials of the agency to establish NIPOST Bank and transact E-Banking, NIPOST Transport and provide internet facilities to its customers across the country.

“There are many locations, for example, Ikoyi Post Office is sitting on a 10 acres of land. We are planning to build offices, shopping malls on IPP arrangement and there would be more money. By the grace of God, NIPOST is going to be a 21st century organization which would compete with other companies locally and globally,” Shittu said.

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