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That MTN Trillion Naira Fine, By Egheomhanre Eyieyien

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When I first heard that the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) had imposed a fine of N1.04Trillion on MTN Nigeria for the telco's failure to disconnect unregistered SIM cards from its GSM network, I assumed that the reporter may have made a mistake regarding the figure. Surely, I thought, the fine could not really be a Trillion Naira! I was wrong.
 
 
Going by the posture of the Federal Government on the issue, it appears this is really about "funding our budget" in the face of our declining oil revenues. But has anyone g8ven serious consideration to how foreign investors would perceive Nigeria hereafter? A regulatory fine should be punitive enough to deter breach by operators but should not be extortionate. This is shameful!
 
The portion of the NCC Act which is being bandied as the basis for computing the absurd fine just shows how little thought actually went into the legislation. It should be duly amended.
The tragic thing is the unwillingness or the inability of the NCC and the Federal Government to exercise discretion in determining what should be the appropriate fine for an infraction that is not earth-shaking. I hope Dr. Okey Enelamah, as Finance Minister, can persuade the President that it is folly to pursue this path in our bid to enhance our revenue generation. This is no way to attract foreign investors.
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NIGERIA DI FURE!
 
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