Reps Investigate 'Sudden' Collapse Of Etisalat Nigeria
When the Etisalat Network collapsed a few months ago, subscribers were afraid they may be affected, but the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped in.
A name change has been effected - 9Mobile - but some issues popped up at the plenary in the House of Representatives.
"We want to be sure the interest of subscribers is protected," the lawmakers concluded on Thursday.
The green-chaired chamber mandated its Committee on Telecommunications to investigate and ascertain the circumstances which led to the collapse of Etisalat Nigeria.
Saheed Akinade-Fijabi from Oyo State had moved a motion, expressing concern at the inability of the Etisalat to meet its debt servicing obligations.
He said the company was eventually taken over by the banks.
Akinade-Fijabi explained that the take-over was against the letters and spirit of the Nigerian Communications Act.
"The take-over of Etisalat which was renamed 9mobile by the banks is a clear violation of section 38(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
"The Act provides that the grant of a licence shall be personal to the licensee and the licence shall not be operated by, assigned, sub-licensed or transferred to any other party.
"The Act further states that the licence could only be transferred if there is prior written approval by the community," he told other lawmakers.
According to the the lawmaker, Etisalat Nigeria paid almost half of the initial loan amounting to about $504 million.
"Etisalat Nigeria obtained a loan of $1.2 billion (377.7 billion Naira) in 2013 from 13 Nigerian banks, with a foreign guaranteed bond to finance a major network rehabilitation, upgrade and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.
"The company so far paid about half of the initial loan amounting to about $504 million but it had reneged on its debt servicing obligations after the interventions of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the CBN to restructure the loan and new repayment deadline," he further explained.
Also Read: Why We Saved 9Mobile – CBN Governor
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the company was formerly owned by the Emirates Telecommunications Group Company with 40% shares, Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi, with 45% shares and EMTS Holding BV has 15% shares in the investment.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun.