MTN top brass take salary cuts for R250m COVID-19 fund

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MTN Group president and CEO Rob Shuter.
MTN Group president and CEO Rob Shuter.

MTN Group, Africa’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers, today announced details of its R250 million relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mobile operator also said this morning that the chairman, group CEO, group CFO and a number of group directors have pledged 30% of their board fees and salaries for the next three months.

The executive teams of both MTN Group and MTN South Africa have also contributed to the fund. In addition, other staff members can contribute by making salary sacrifices, says MTN.

This as South African CEOs in the technology industry are slashing their salaries for the coming months in response to the Solidarity Fund established by president Cyril Ramaphosa to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

In a statement, MTN says operating across 21 markets, MTN Group has customised its response to recognise its responsibility to contribute both in its home market, South Africa, as well as in many other markets facing enormous challenges managing the pandemic.

It says comprising five key intervention initiatives, the group has focused on employees, customers, vulnerable groups, contributions to the South African government’s Solidarity Fund and participating in industry interventions.

“We believe it is the responsibility of all organisations to assist where they can during the pandemic. MTN plays a vital role in the mobile and telecommunications industry across Africa and the Middle East, and it is vital that we assist our employees, customers and stakeholders during this difficult time,” says Mcebisi Jonas, the chairman of MTN Group.

The group plans to raise R40 million for the MTN Global Staff Emergency Fund for employees in need. The funds will be raised by contributions from the group’s directors, managers and general staff.

Furthermore, over R150 million will be invested in the Y’ello Hope Package for customers – that includes free SMS services, the waiving of fees for certain mobile money transactions, discounted calling during off-peak periods, zero-rating of certain health, social services and educational sites and payment concessions to our business customers.

“Utilising our services and technologies for the greater good is key at the moment. We can positively impact millions of lives and our main focus is on keeping our network in good working order and enable our customers to connect with their loved ones during this most difficult time for all,” says Rob Shuter, MTN Group president and CEO.

MTN is also mobilising the work of the MTN Foundations across the markets to reach those most vulnerable through contributions towards tackling health emergencies to minimise the spread of COVID-19 (disease commodity packages and ICT services needed for health ministries and health professionals); and enabling students to remain productive by accessing vital school and university content with a total contribution of at least R50 million, says the telco.

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