The federal government will soon hold talks with MTN Nigeria to finalise the negotiation of the fine imposed on the telco by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The regulatory agency slammed a N1.04 trillion fine on MTN for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards and later reduced the fine to N780 billion after the first round of negotiations.
According to Reuters, the issue is likely to be discussed when President Jacob Zuma of South Africa visits President Muhammadu Buhari next week.
Last week, MTN withdrew the suit it filed against NCC and paid N50 billion towards an amicable resolution of the matter.
Ferdi Moolman, CEO of MTN Nigeria, had expressed confidence that the step taken by his company would go a long way in resolving the issue.
“This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome,” he said.
“We are hopeful at this stage. Along with the authorities, it is clear that we are collectively committed to working towards a solution that is of mutual benefit to all parties.
“Our industry in Nigeria is an incredibly important example of the remarkable progress in ICT particularly as a much needed catalyst for socio-economic growth and development at this time.”
Adebayo Shittu, communications minister, has said the final decision rests with the president.
“It is (now) for government to meet with them and conclude negotiations,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
“It is within his power and jurisdiction to do that if he feels that it would be in the interests of Nigeria to so do.”
MTN shares, which had been down 2.8 percent on Wednesday, trimmed losses after the comments although they were still down 1.8 percent by 1045 GMT.
Shittu also told the agency that Nigeria was in advanced talks with an Indian firm to lay fibre optic cables from Kogi state to Abuja.
He said he would also travel to China and South Korea within two weeks in a bid to encourage foreign firms to invest in broadband service in the West African nation.