CBN, NCC to intervene in banks’, Etisalat’s $1.7 billion loan case

Apex bank meets telecoms’ firm, financial institutions today

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed to intervene in the loan issue between Etisalat Nigeria and a consortium of commercial banks.

This resolution is coming on the heels of a planned takeover of the telecoms’ firm after it failed to repay the $1.7 billion medium term syndicated loan facility it got from 13 Nigerian banks in 2013.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and teams from both agencies, met in Abuja yesterday where the apex bank agreed to intervene in the matter.

A statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Tony Ojobo, said that the CBN agreed to invite Etisalat management and the banks to a meeting today towards finding an amicable resolution.

Ojobo said the NCC, as a regulator of the telecoms industry, had moved quickly to intervene earlier in the week by reaching out to the CBN to discuss the impact such a take-over will have on the industry.

He said the commission was worried about the fate of the over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals this may send to potential investors in the telecoms industry.

Meanwhile, Etisalat’s Head of Public Relations, Oluseyi Osuntedo, denied claims that they were picketed yesterday by some of the affected banks. “Discussions are on going. Nobody is taking up the company. We are not being picketed. The information is false,” she stated.

Also, The Guardian gathered that the CBN was invited because of its role as the apex bank as well as the only source to intervene on behalf of the consortium of banks with their foreign partners.

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  • Ade_O

    This loan was obtained in 2013. This gives the impression that what we are seeing today did not just happen suddenly. They talk about the impact the take-over would have on subscribers and the wrong(?) signals this may send to potential investors. Is it that Etisalat has been declaring losses in three (3) years? If we keep bailing out willfully mis-managed companies, does this not send negative signals on its own? Are our regulatory agencies not liable? Where did all the money that Etisalat made in three years go? There are loopholes in our system, occasioned by the laxity/ineptitude of our regulatory agencies, perhaps coupled with corruption, that these so-called foreign investors take advantage of, and they ride on the crest of these to defraud us.

  • IronDome

    i dont know when the CBN became a charitable body. Obviously etisalat refused to service it debt. like any delinquent debtor ; they should be auctioned and treated according. When did Etisalat subscribers become MTN business? if they collapse , they will buy MTN sims shikena

  • Tunde ADISA

    It is important to understand the issues. The facility was procured in 2013 when forex rate hovered between 130-155 at minimum 12-15 percent cost. Telecoms consumer price has been on decline and at the local currency. Official exchange rate stands at minimum 305 now while opex is on the increase. The scenario is certainly not entirely the problem with Etisalat management alone. Unfortunately this is not an isolated case.