N541.8bn Debt: CBN, NCC Move To Save Etisalat


Moves by a conglomerate of Nigerian banks to take control of embattled mobile telecoms company, Etisalat Nigeria, over a $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) loan crunch may have hit the rocks for now.
This follows intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday in Abuja.
Rising from a meeting between the two organisations, the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Danbatta and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele agreed to mediate in the imminent loan crisis following the affected banks’ threat to take control of the telecoms company’s operations.
The group, comprising both foreign and Nigerian banks, has been engaged in a running battle with Etisalat over the loan granted since 2015. According to reports, the facility with a foreign-backed security bond, was meant for the telecoms firm to fund its major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in the country.
Among the banks involved in the proposed takeover threat are include Zenith Bank, Access Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
A statement by the Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Tony Ojobo said the meeting agreed that the banks and Etisalat management be invited to a reconciliatory meeting tomorrow, Friday, March 10, 2017 as part of efforts to reach an amicable settlement of the issue.
Mr Ojobo said as the nation’s telecom industry regulator, it is NCC’s responsibility to act fast in resolving the crisis given the likely adverse effect such development could have on the sector, adding that NCC was disturbed about the fate of over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals the action would send to potential investors in the ever expanding industry.

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