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MTN, Airtel ordered to suspend Nigerian SIM card sales

While authorities check their compliance with registration guidelines.
Image: George Osodi/Bloomberg

Nigeria ordered telecommunications companies, including MTN Group Ltd. and Airtel Africa Plc, to suspend the sale of SIM cards while authorities check their compliance with registration guidelines. It didn’t say how long the review would take.

“Mobile network operators are hereby directed to immediately suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM cards until the audit exercise is concluded,” the Nigerian Communications Commission said in a statement on its website.

Johannesburg-based MTN’s local unit, the West African country’s biggest wireless operator, said it had complied with the directive, according to a notice it sent to customers.

Airtel Africa, which listed in Lagos and London last year, vies with local operator Globacom Ltd. as the country’s second-biggest carrier.

The NCC fined MTN in 2015 for failing to disconnect undocumented SIM cards as part of a security crackdown. The matter was resolved a year later when the company paid 330 billion naira ($839 million) after extensive negotiations.

MTN shares fell as much as 8.6% in Johannesburg, the most in almost seven months, before paring the decline to 5% as of 3:38 p.m. MTN Nigeria Communications Plc fell 0.8% in Lagos, while Airtel Africa was 1.2% lower in London.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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Nigeria has a budget shortfall again I see, time to dip into the well which is foreign owned companies.

nigeria’s oil income dropped a lot, with the tumbling effect it has on tax and the rest of the economy of that country – this is just another way of “generating another line of income” for their government.

“Mobile network operators are hereby directed to immediately suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM cards until the audit exercise is concluded,” the Nigerian Communications Commission said in a statement on its website”

With reference to the above phrase of this article my question is: what on earth did the Nigerian Communications Commission do since the 2015 fiasco? and by who is this “audit” done and signed?
to me the budget shortfall and the suspension of sale of sim cards coincide just too much.

End of comments.

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