Business Hilights
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NCC must stick to its CCG to track networks on transparency—NATCOMS

The President of National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo has called on the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to rise to the challenge of monitoring and compliance of operators in the sector in line with the provision of the telecoms Code of Corporate Governance (CCG).

Business Hilights recalls that NCC under the leadership of former Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah had launched CCG with assurance that the telecoms industry will rely on it to grow seamlessly and operate within the ambit of the extant laws and regulations.

In an interview, the apparent relaxation of the CCG may have created rooms for breaches and infractions by the networks especially last year.

While regretting the endless probes on MTN’s repatriation of $13.9bn between 2006 and 2016, Ogunbanjo stressed that the NCC and the CBN should ensure there is transparency in the operations of telecoms operators in the country.

NATCOMS boss added that “all the operators including MTN, Airtel, Globacom, Etisalat and even Ntel operations should be looked into critically to ensure they are not violating rules and regulations guiding their operations in the country”. He said a sector without transparency is capable of hindering economic growth.

Only last week, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, while speaking to Reuters, wants Nigerians to encourage MTN and others, and not scare them away from the country.

He made it clear that MTN is important to Nigeria and the presumption is that they are innocent of the latest allegations leveled against the company.

“Nobody will say that MTN is not important to Nigeria – we must encourage them, we must not scare them away from Nigeria,” Shittu told Reuters in an interview.“The presumption is that they are innocent and we pray they remain innocent. They must stay,” he stated.

Besides, MTN has said it did not break Nigeria’s currency transfer rules and still stands by it.

The crux of the allegation into illegal money transfers is that MTN did not obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency in Nigeria within a 24-hour deadline stipulated in a 1995 law, and so the repatriation of returns on those investments was illegal.

“They have a right to repatriate their profits as long as it is legitimately done,” said Shittu, adding that any time MTN is suspected of breaking the law, it will be investigated, though the “facts against them must be established beyond reasonable doubt.”

“Everyone who is in business will have ups and downs. You don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater.”