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Confusion as MTN denies alleged 75% stake by Indian group in Nigeria

Barely 48 hours after the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had revealed that MTN has sold 75 per cent stake to Indian investors and is about to exist the economy for parent country South Africa, the company and regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have denied the development, saying there is nothing like that.

Whereas a top official of NCC confided in Business Hilights Tuesday that “There is always a clear process in corporate acquisition or merger and we have not been informed of any of them”.

Dr. Onu had disclosed weekend in Abuja that “not less than 75 per cent ownership of MTN has been acquired by Indians,” while expressing sadness at the state of the economy”.

The minister who had not denied the comment was said to have made it during the inaugural press conference of the Computer-Based Test (CBT) Centre Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (CPAN) in the nation’s capital.

He lamented that Indians are gradually buying over MTN in Nigeria now and one of the sad trend about the development was that Indians now have the capacity to administer what MTN does by physically employing Nigerians.

“They want the capacity to do that from their country and if we in Nigeria allow all these opportunities to go, it will not speak well. Indians have now taken over not less than 75 per cent of MTN and the control of MTN is from India, not even from Nigeria, and if your association is not taking over this CBT, may be Indians will come and take over CBT.”

Though industry experts say what the minister was driving at was not mere buy-over, but the displacement of Nigerian engineers by Indians who are globally known for cheap labour when what has happened at Ericsson recently is put under review.

However, it was not clear if the minister was mistakenly referring to what actually happened at Ericsson where over 300 Nigerian engineers were eased away for Indians in Nigeria.

An analysts looked at the matter from this angle when he studied the minister’s comment that “the Federal Government does not want foreigners to take away technological opportunities meant for Nigerians”.

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