Umar Danbatta
Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta

Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, on Wednesday said the absence of an instrument of negotiation on the part of government is one of the reasons MTN has not commenced the process that will lead to full payment of the N780 billion fine imposed on it last year.

He also admitted that key agencies have not made inputs into the proposal made by MTN to government to facilitate the negotiation process, adding: “This is being collated as we speak and very soon a team which we already have in place will enter into direct negotiation with MTN.”

The EVC spoke at the sideline during a courtesy visit by the Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr. Adolphus Joe Ekpe, in his office Abuja.

He said the N50 billion paid by MTN is a commitment of good will for negotiation for an out-of-court settlement , adding that it is not part of the N70 billion the commission generated within the last 6 months from sale of spectrum broadband.

He said: “NCC has generated N70 billion from the sale of spectrum broadband and spectrum within the last 6 months. This money belongs to the Nigeria people and is remitted into the federation account for services to be rendered to Nigerians by government.”

On the proposal made by MTN on a convenient mode of payment, he said government is looking at it, adding however that he is not in a position to say whether it will be acceptable to government or not.

He said: “This is an ongoing process of negotiation and not until it is concluded, nobody will be able to offer a position on it.”

Asked on MTN’s preparedness to pay the fine, he said: “MTN didn’t say they were not going to pay. I did not read this anywhere in the papers, nor does their body language indicates unwillingness to pay.
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