The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have waded into Etisalat Nigeria multi-billion naira debt crisis.
Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC, met with Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor and his team, on Thursday afternoon, and reached to intervene in the loan issue between Etisalat Nigeria and a consortium of commercial banks.
“The meeting which was held at the CBN in Abuja was convened by the financial regulator at the instance of NCC and the telecom regulator to further deliberate on how best to stop the attempt by the banks to take over Etisalat,” Tony Ojobo, NCC spokesperson said via a statement.
“At the end of the meeting, the CBN agreed to invite Etisalat management and the banks to a meeting tomorrow, Friday, toward finding an amicable resolution.”
Ojobo said that the NCC as a regulator of the telecom industry had moved quickly to intervene earlier in the week by reaching out to the CBN because it was convinced of the negative impact such takeover move would have on the industry.
He added that NCC was worried about the fate of the over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals this might send to potential investors in the Telecom industry.
Oluseyi Osuntedo, head of public relations, Etisalat Nigeria, had told NAN that “discussions are going on; nobody is taking up the company”.
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.
NCC appears not to be favourably disposed to the takeover proposal as it believed that Etisalat is not only a viable going concern, but also willing and able to negotiate the servicing of its loans.
Etisalat is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms operator with about 21 million subscribers as at January 2017, according to the NCC.
It commenced business in Nigeria in 2009.