By Jessica Dogo
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says MTN Nigeria has brought economic gains to the country by boosting market capitalisation and yielding dividends to shareholders.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this in a statement signed by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs of the commission on Monday in Abuja.
Danbatta said that the achievement was as a result of regulatory action by the NCC which facilitated the listing of MTN on the Nigerian stock exchange market.
He said that recent market analysts indicted that MTN investors had raked in approximately N1 trillion in price appreciation and dividends since April 2020.
“The listing of MTN was as a result of NCC’s effective regulatory action taken during the mobile network operator’s fine settlement agreement in 2016, which compelled the telco to, among other things, list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
“The listing was one of the outcomes of the NCC’s stringent regulatory posture, which served as tonic for other telcos such as Airtel to follow the same direction.
“As the country’s independent telecoms regulatory authority, the NCC, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), facilitated the landmark listing of the country’s largest telecommunications operator on the bourse.
“This is in line with its mandate to promote investment, create a level-playing field for all licensees, ensure compliance to existing telecoms laws and facilitate delivery of top-notch quality of service (QoS) to consumers,” he said.
Danbatta, however, said that a new vista of opportunity has been created in the history of telecommunications industry in Nigeria, through the proactive regulation and timely intervention by the NCC, which led to the listing of MTN on the NSE.
He also said that the listing has helped to translate into action, an important objective of the commission, which was to promote local investment and ownership in the telecom sector.
“That important regulatory action enable Nigerians, consistent with the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, to partly, own, manage and control MTN.
“This bold and courageous regulatory action is now transforming lives and boosting the economy.
“With MTN shares available in the capital market, it is expected that Nigerians will buy shares and by purchasing the shares, they will be financially empowered and be socially transformed,” he said.
Danbatta said that telecoms was a capital-intensive industry that required continuous investment, adding that listing would enable the telecoms companies to raise capital for the expansion of their networks.
He said that one of the benefits of listing on the NSE was that telcos have enormous opportunity for raising more capital for network expansion, which would, in turn, bring about improvement in the quality of service delivery and quality of experience for telecom consumers.
Danbatta said that, the capital market regulator and shareholder bodies have commended the effort of the NCC in making the capital market more resilient through its regulatory action in facilitating telcos listing.
He said that the listing in the stock exchange would promote liquidity among operators and enhance their value as well as promote transparency.
“The NCC is committed, through its regulatory policies and actions, to creating the right environment to attract both Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) and local investment into the telecom industry for increased economic prosperity for Nigerians, Danbatta said.