South Africa-based telecom group, MTN, has announced that it will invest about $1.6 billion (approximately N580 billion) over the next three years to strengthen and expand its network and operations in the Nigeria as part of its ongoing commitment to the country.
MTN announced a capital investment programme of $1.6 billion (approximately N580 billion) over the next three years to strengthen and expand its network and operations in the country.
The statement was issued after an MTN delegation represented by Chairman of MTN Group, Mcebisi Jonas; Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe; MTN Group CEO, Rob Shuter and MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman met with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in late December 2019.
The MTN team also met and held deliberations with key government officials including Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
The news was shared during a statement by President Buhari, whereby he reaffirmed that the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to providing an enabling environment for businesses to succeed. He went on to say that the government is also looking at ways to increase the level of security across critical national infrastructure, noting that it would guarantee seamless service delivery and also facilitate investments throughout the country.
The President Buhari stated that he was pleased with MTN’s support of Nigeria’s digital inclusion programmes and its commitment to growing the telecommunications industry across the region.
Commenting on the news, Chairman of MTN Group Mr Mcebisi Jonas said: “We are steadfast about our investments in Nigeria, particularly over the next three years as we aim to strengthen and expand our network and systems. We are fully aligned with the strategic agenda of the Nigerian government and are committed to strengthening the digital economy of the country,” he continued.
“Financial inclusion and access to funding and digital services all become easier when our continent is powered by connectivity. The benefits of a connected continent are far reaching, making a positive impact across Africa. We cannot achieve this goal on our own, and are working on strengthening relationships with our key partners to extend access to comprehensive and affordable solutions to all,” said Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and CEO.
In January, MTN Group got a reprieve in Nigeria after the country’s Attorney General withdrew its back taxes case in the West African country. MTN Nigeria was informed by its legal team that following careful review and consultation with relevant statutory agencies, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (AGF) decided to refer the matter to the relevant authorities, being the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs (NC), with a view to them resolving the issues.
Accordingly, the AGF thereby withdrew its letter of demand for $2 billion in back taxes that was issued in August 2018.
The back taxes issue had been disputed by MTN Group in court.
In July, MTN Nigeria – the market leader in the country with 36.5 per cent of the market share in September 2019 according to Statista – reported that its mobile subscribers increased to 61.5 million in the first quarter of 2019 according to financial results for the first quarter of 2019.
In the first half of 2019, MTN Nigeria added 3.3 million customers to its network, increasing the overall subscriber base to 61.5 million. At the same period, data subscribers increased by 2.1 million to 20.7 million.
Nigeria is MTN Group’s biggest market, accounting for over one third of the group’s profits, even though its subscriber numbers have been declining over the years.