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$8.1bn REFUND: MTN sanctions ‘very damaging one’ for Nigeria – Finance Minister

Nigerian government plans multi-donor trust fund

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has described the recent sanctions placed on MTN Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over $8.1 billion repatriated fund as a “very damaging one” for the country.

The minister, who made this known while fielding questions from newsmen at the 24th National Economic Summit (NES) on Tuesday in Abuja, said the CBN is already in talks with the telecommunication firm with the aim of resolving the issues around the latest sanctions.

Ahmed added that the latest sanctions followed failure of big businesses operating in the country to adhere to stipulated regulations by the federal government.

“The MTN incident was a very damaging one for us and that was one of the reasons why we have been out trying to engage our investors. But you see there is a tendency for big businesses to take regulation and government for granted.

“Only after that incident happened, all of the information that the CBN had been trying to get for months actually came out. Now, I think they are up to a point where they have almost solved the problem,” she said.

Read also: CBN revokes license of 9 microfinance banks

The minister assured investors that there would not be a reoccurrence of such sanctions.

“We are trying to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we are continuously discussing with monetary authorities. There will be no company next after MTN, nobody is next because we can’t afford for this kind of incidence to keep happening,” Ahmed said.

The CBN had in late August alleged that MTN repatriated a total of $8.1 billion from the country through illegal means and directed the telco to refund the money.

It also imposed a fine of N5.87 billion on four banks – Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc., Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc – that allegedly aided the process.

The apex bank, in a statement last month, said it was reviewing new information provided by MTN and the four banks with a view to arriving at an “equitable resolution.”

Also, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had earlier this month said the latest documents provided by telco and its four banks may lead to a reduction in the $8.1 billion claim.

 

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We are an online newspaper, very passionate about Nigerian politics, business and their leaders. We dig deeper, without borders and without fears.
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