The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have waded into Etisalat Nigeria multi-billion naira debt crisis.
Ojobo said that the NCC as a regulator of the telecom industry had moved quickly to intervene earlier in the week by reaching out to the CBN because it was convinced of the negative impact such takeover move would have on the industry.
He added that NCC was worried about the fate of the over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals this might send to potential investors in the Telecom industry.
Oluseyi Osuntedo, head of public relations, Etisalat Nigeria, had told NAN that “discussions are going on; nobody is taking up the company”.
Earlier, NAN reported that the telco’s debt was at N377 billion, without interest.
A consortium of some foreign and Nigerian banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, have been having a running battle with the mobile telephone operator, over a loan facility totalling $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) obtained in 2015.
The banks said their attempt to recover the loan by all means, was fuelled by the pressure from the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), demanding immediate cut down on the rate of their non-performing loans.
NCC appears not to be favourably disposed to the takeover proposal as it believed that Etisalat is not only a viable going concern, but also willing and able to negotiate the servicing of its loans.
Etisalat is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms operator with about 21 million subscribers as at January 2017, according to the NCC.
It commenced business in Nigeria in 2009.