Etisalat’s Loan: CBN, NCC Intervene, as Regulators Summon Telco’s Mgt.

(Last Updated On: 2017-03-09)



Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen


The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his team, on Thursday held in meeting which led to a decision to intervene in the loan issue between Etisalat Nigeria and a consortium of commercial banks.

The meeting which held at the Central Bank Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday afternoon was convened by the financial regulator at the instance of NCC, the telecom sector regulator, to further deliberate on how best to stave off the attempt by the banks to take over Etisalat.

However,  at the end of the meeting, CBN agreed to invite Etisalat management and the banks to a meeting tomorrow, Friday, towards finding an amicable resolution.

The NCC as a regulator of the telecom industry had moved quickly to intervene earlier in the week by reaching out to the CBN convinced of the negative impact such a bank take over will have on the industry.

NCC was worried about the fate of the over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals this may send to potential investors in the Telecom industry.

It would be recalled that the consortium including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank have been having a running battle with the mobile telephone operator over a loan facility totalling $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) obtained in 2015.

The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

But owing to the company’s failure to meet its debt servicing schedule agreed since last year, the three Nigerian banks, prodded by their foreign partners, reported Etisalat to the banking sector regulator, CBN, and the NCC.

While Etisalat blamed its inability to fulfil its obligation to the banks on the current economic recession in Nigeria, the banks said their attempt to recover the loan by all means was fuelled by the pressure from the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, demanding immediate cut down on the rate of their non-performing loans.


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