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Etisalat Experience forcing NCC board to think stress test for telecoms

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Considering the near financial insolvency troubling Etisalat Nigeria in the last couple of months following its inability to pay back $1.2bn syndicated loan from a consortium of 13 banks, the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is currently looking at the option of subjecting all telecoms operators to financial stress test at intervals.

Details gathered by Business Hilights after the board’s recent review of the Etisalat experience showed that telecoms companies must henceforth meet certain financial and technical standards before they can operate in the country.

Up till now, Etisalat owns outstanding $589m from the $1.2bn loan obtained from a consortium of 13 banks in 2013.

According to the Chairman of the board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, the agency took the decision after an emergency meeting on Wednesday “to review the Etisalat issue in its entirety.”

“The board commended the NCC management for its handling of the Etisalat issue till date. The board also commended the cooperation and inter-agency collaboration exhibited by the Central Bank of Nigeria as a fellow regulator.

“The board directed the management to ensure at all times that telecoms companies meet the financial and technical integrity standards expected of them.

“The board has had a three-fold concern: Ensuring continuous service to the over 21 million Etisalat subscribers; safeguarding the employees; and stabilising the telecoms sector to ensure its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is not impacted and investment interest continues.”