News Column

MTN Nigeria Clarifies Position On Call for Devaluation of the Naira

May 12, 2014

Steve Omanufeme

MTN Nigeria has clarified its position on the reported call for the devaluation of the naira by its outgoing Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Andrew Bing. The telecoms operator said that the views credited to the outgoing CFO were purely personal and do not represent the position of the company.

Bing was allegedly quoted by wire reports that Nigeria's currency will probably be devalued after next year's election and the move will boost his company's import costs in Nigeria, its biggest market.

"The outgoing CFO of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bing is not the spokesperson for MTN Nigeria . He expressed his personal views on the telecommunications industry and the Nigerian economy. They are not the views of MTN Nigeria. We understand that Mr. Bing expressed these views in an informal discussion," said MTN's General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Funmilayo Onajide, in response to THISDAY enquiries on the issue.

Declining oil exports and prices means that the central bank of Africa's biggest crude producer will face difficulties in keeping the naira stable against the dollar before the Feb. 14 vote, Andrew Bing, chief financial officer of MTN's Nigerian unit, said to Bloomberg in a May 5, 2014 interview in Lagos.

According to the report, he said the official peg may have to be lowered by three or four percent.

Ms. Onajide said: "MTN Nigeria is committed to the socio-economic growth of Nigeria and we are unwavering in our support for a virile economy and stable society."

In that interview, Bing was also quoted to have suggested a probable hike in its tariff if Nigeria's government made its licence conditions more stringent as its licence expires in 2016.

He told Bloomberg: "Tougher rules, tougher regulations, greater demands ultimately will impact price, the more you charge up front or the more you demand over a period of time. Well, somebody has to pay for it. Ultimately, the subscribers are the people who will have to pay.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had in February fined the three biggest mobile operators, including MTN, for the quality of their service and prohibited them from selling new SIM cards in March, the first time the punishment was imposed along with a financial penalty.

Omobola Johnson, communication technology minister, had said in a February interview that Nigeria would probably revalue the Johannesburg-based company's phone spectrum and would push to have improving service and infrastructure written into the contracts,

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Source: AllAfrica

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