Nigeria’s central bank (CBN) says it is currently engaging with Africa’s mobile phone firm, MTN Ltd. and four banks over $8. 1 billion claims.
The regulatory body stated this in a statement issued by Isaac Okorafor, its director of communications, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Okorafor said the apex bank is currently reviewing documents submitted by banks with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution.
“We assure all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.”
“The recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.”
CBN maintained that the recent sanctions on four deposit money banks (DMBs) is in the interest of the public and will continue to welcome foreign investments and investors.
MTN Nigeria keeps mum
A source within MTN Group Ltd. declined to speak on the latest development because the matter is currently in a Nigerian court.
“We are not allowed to speak on a legal matter,” the source told Business Insider SSA on Thursday.
Two weeks ago, MTN dragged the Nigerian government to court, describing the case as a complex one. The company is also battling another $2 billion tax claim from Nigeria’s attorney-general.
A step in the right direction
But Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, said the apex bank’s decision to engage the telecoms operator and financial institutions is a step in right direction.
“We look forward to the central bank disclosing the exact reasons for their actions.
“While this is a step in the right direction, continued dialogue to reach an amicable resolution is a minimum standard expected by the investment community,” Teniola told Bloomberg.
Last month, the monetary authority ordered Africa’s telecoms giant, MTN and four other banks to “refund a total of $8.134billion moved out of the country” for breaching the country’s forex regulations.
It also slammed N5.8 billion fine on the banks for allegedly aiding MTN in the alleged illegal capital repatriation and deducted the amount from the bank’s accounts.
MTN has lost almost $5 billion in market value since the apex bank announced the sanction.