The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it intervened in the crisis between Etisalat and a consortium of 13 Nigerian Banks over a syndicated loan of about $1.2bn granted the telecom company to save over 4,000 jobs and stripping of the company’s assets.
Mr Isaac Okorafor, CBN spokesperson said in a statement issued to the press that “Although it should ordinarily not be the role of a regulator to decide how individual bad loans are resolved, the CBN believes that Etisalat is a systemically important telecommunications company with over 20 million subscribers that if not well handled, may have negative implications for the banking system itself.”
He further revealed that the CBN and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had suspected that banks might go ahead in the usual way and downsize the company’s over 4,000 staff, adding that this was why they reached an agreement to intervene.
He added that both regulators implore the consortium of banks to re-assess its position in dealing with Etisalat.
On it part, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), insisted that the consortium of banks seeking to takeover Etisalat Nigeria over the protracted $1.72 billion debt impasse must first cross some regulatory hurdles.
Pointing at Section 38 and Sub section 1 of the NCA which spells out that, NCC said that “The grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee and the license shall not be operated by, assigned, sub licensed or transferred to another party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted.”
Tony Ojobo, spokesman of the NCC drew the attention of the lender banks to the Section 38 and Sub section 1 of the NCA which spells out that, “The grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee and the license shall not be operated by, assigned, sub licensed or transferred to another party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted;”
Ojobo, said that the lenders banks must take note of relevant provision of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 as well as relevant provisions of the laws guiding the transfer of licences issued operators by the telecoms regulator.
According to the NCC, Sub Section 2 of the same provision equally states that, “A licensee shall at all times comply by the terms and condition of the license and the provision of this act and its subsidiary legislation.”
Ojobo, who said that NCC is aware of the indebtedness of Etisalat Nigeria to the consortium of banks says that the telecoms regulator and its banking counterpart, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “mediated by holding several meetings with the banks, Etisalat and other stakeholders with a view to finding a resolution.”

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