Business Hilights

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Nigerian Senate

‘Leave MTN alone, interrogate FRCN, CBN, NIPC further on $13.9b transfer’

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Since Senator Dino Melaye raised the issue of alleged transfer of $13.9bn by MTN Nigeria between 2006 and this year on the floor of the Senate earlier in September, there has been a kind of shielding of concerned regulatory agencies in the investigation of the matter. Rather, MTN had been severally distracted vide random invitation by the Senate. This trend, according to financial pundits, tends to show that there is a deafening silence from the regulatory bodies that needs to be looked at.

Analysts are currently calling on the lawmakers to beam its interrogative searchlight on the federal agencies regulating CCOI to get the actual things that transpired in the capital exportation.

Observers say the trio of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) need to answer more questions than MTN Nigeria.

For instance, the CCI is issued only by the CBN. So, why is the CBN silent? Why is the Senate taking the war to MTN’s doorsteps? Why is the Senate yet to summon the CBN Chief? Why should the Senate summon the 4-Bank Chiefs whose principal is the CBN? Why is NIPC yet to issue any public statement yet?

Interestingly, the Senate committee invited the Secretary to FRCN, Mr. Jim Obaze to a hearing on the matter. Mr. Obaze absolved MTN of any blame and dismissed the Senate allegation as “completely false.”

Besides, the continued disturbance on MTN is capable of sending very wrong signals to prospective investors who may wish to follow the presentations of the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu at the recently concluded ITU in Thailand to come for investments.

Experts are aware that globalization has broken down national frontiers for the free flow of foreign capital. It is a contemporary financial global tool which establishes that no single country is self-sufficient. To this extent, municipal nationalities open their doors to Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) from multi-nationals corporations or foreign companies.

Again, the above is in tandem with a key function of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act Chapter N117(Decree No 16 of 1995)  Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, which states that the Commission shall “(function b) initiate and support measures which shall enhance the investment climate in Nigeria for both Nigerian and non-Nigerian investors.”

In the last two months, it has become clear especially following the recent position of the CBN to retain all monetary rates at the last MPC meeting that Nigeria’s current recession situation is unprecedented and the government apparently lacks ideas on the best antidote for now.

Therefore, the employment of the best strategies to attract FDIs is a very credible method of combating recession. This is why many onlookers and commentators are miffed by Nigeria’s handling of the MTN issue. For while, the President and his retinue of think-tank roam the globe to woo investors for FDIs, we are tacitly chasing away our “golden goose” right under our nose.

The annoying part of the wrong firing of the lawmakers is the fact that the entire development has apparently put MTN in bad light.

But people were in a haste to forget that this is a company that has taken the lead in employing almost over half a million Nigerians is presently enmeshed in a reputation crisis. Considering Nigeria’s present economic situation, job creation and sustenance should be topmost priority.


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