Olusanya Promises to Return Etisalat to Profitability

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NCC begins enforcement of code of corporate governance

Emma Okonji with agency report

The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Boye Olusanya, has promised to return the telecoms company back to profitability, while assuring subscribers of business continuity, despite the withdrawal of Etisalat Group from the Etisalat Nigeria business.

Olusanya told Reuters yesterday that he was also working on the paperworks to eventually raise new capital or the business.
“Our mandate is to make sure the business runs as profitably as it can. What is most important now is to ensure that the business runs and meets its obligations,” he said.

Nigerian regulators intervened last week to save Etisalat Nigeria after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan from 2013 with 13 local lenders failed.
Etisalat Nigeria has 20 million subscribers, making it the country’s number four mobile operator with a 14 per cent market share.

South Africa’s MTN has 47 percent, Globacom 20 per cent and Airtel – a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel – 19 per cent.
“Once we have gotten ourselves to where certain decisions are made and the structure and form of the business is formed then maybe we would look at a capital raising structure that would be suitable for the nature of how the business will be run,” the new CEO said yesterday.

Olusanya, who took over as CEO of Etisalat Nigeria following the appointment of a new board led by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said while the business could run without an immediate recapitalisation, he would not rule one out completely.
“Obviously if its possible to do it tomorrow we will do it, because that enhances the ability of this business to roll-out quickly, to get more subscribers, which is what everybody wants,” he added.
“We are still in negotiations with Etisalat over the use of the brand name,” Olusanya said, adding that the technical service agreement with Etisalat covered the brand name

Meanwhile, Etisalat Nigeria has reassured its customers of business continuity and commitment to service quality delivery.
In a statement signed by its Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, the telecoms company said: “Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), trading as Etisalat Nigeria hereby assures its customers and other stakeholders that Etisalat Group’s reported withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by EMTS does not in any way imply discontinuation of our business as Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile service provider.”

The statement further said, “Contrary to certain misleading statements in the press about our experience centres and outlets being closed, we wish to state that all Etisalat offices, Experience Centres and outlets across Nigeria are in full operation and are providing services including customer care services on 24/7 basis.

“Etisalat Nigeria also reiterates its unwavering commitment to delivery of quality services and commitment to continuously empowering all segments of Nigeria through the development and roll-out of innovative products, services and solutions that help individuals, businesses and organisations solve their everyday problems.

“While we are intensifying efforts aimed at reaching full closure on ongoing discussions with regards the transition phase, we want to assure that our customers and stakeholders will be duly informed as soon as these are concluded, including details of a rebranding should that become necessary,” Dikko said, while thanking all Etisalat customers, stakeholders and the media for their unalloyed support to the company.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday revealed that it had started an aggressive enforcement of the agency’s codes of corporate governance to address customers dissatisfaction.
Umar The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, made this known in an address at the 80th edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Abuja.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders, Mr. Sunday Dare, said the enforcement was necessary to ensure that operators in the industry continued to operate as viable businesses.
The theme for this year’s edition of TCP is tagged: ‘Celebrating the Telecoms Consumer.’
Danbatta said this year’s theme was apt as it focused on the continued improvement on telecom operators provide for consumers in the country.

He said in order to ensure consumer satisfaction and protection, the commission had initiated SIM card registration, mobile number portability, and broad band policy implementation.
He said others are development of 2442 and 622 short codes as well as various consumers’ awareness campaigns.
The NCC boss said more emphasis had been placed on the quality of service, protection and empowerment of telecom consumers.
He said in view of the role of telecom consumers in the overall achievement of the growth of telecom Industry, the commission had declared 2017 the year of Nigerian telecom consumers.

“Consumers have continued to spend a significant portion of their disposal income on telecommunication services as it continued to improve quality of life, businesses and social engagement.
“Let me underscore the fact that if all initiatives, projects, investment and efforts were met with low consumer patronage, the telecommunication revolution will have been an unqualified failure.
“It is really the investment of the consumer through patronage of services that have encouraged and supported service provision.

“Thus, there is need to celebrate and recognise the consumer as the boss of the industry and as boss, he pays the piper and as such must dictate the tune,” he said.
Danbatta, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) noted that the key focus of this declaration were continuous improvement of quality, ubiquitous and affordable services to the consumers and increasing consultative engagement with the consumers.

He said other focus include ensuring that services yield improved customers satisfaction by supporting better access to life changing opportunities, career development, quality education and social engagement among others.
Earlier, Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, said the input of TCP had continued to help in the feedback mechanism to meet the mandate of the commission.
He said the parliament had reawaken network operators on the consciousness that without the consumers, they would be out of business.

The Acting Director-General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr. Adamu Cifawa, said the commission tried to ensure that the consumers of services it regulate enjoyed maximum satisfaction to keep the industry growing.
He therefore called on NCC as a regulatory body of telecommunications to continue to toward ensuring satisfaction of customers.
The TCP is a forum organised by NCC, which began in 2002 to bring together stakeholders in the telecommunication industry for knowledge-sharing, idea generation and discussions to move the industry forward.