MTN, Nigerian central bank dispute will be over "very soon", says regulator

Read time 1min 10sec
MTN serves 56 million people in Nigeria.
MTN serves 56 million people in Nigeria.

The Nigerian telecoms regulator said on Thursday that an $8.1 billion (R110 billion) dispute between MTN and the Nigerian central bank "is being resolved and very soon it will be over".

Nigeria's government "is disposed to (an) amicable resolution," Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, told reporters in Abuja.

This follows Wednesday's postponement of a court hearing regarding the repatriation issue between the South African telecoms giant and the central bank to 22 January 2019.

The dispute is over the transfer of $8.1 billion of funds which Nigeria's central bank said the company had sent abroad in breach of foreign-exchange regulations. MTN has denied any wrongdoing.

Nigeria is MTN's biggest market, accounting for a third of the South African company's annual core profit. The mobile phone network serves 56 million people in Nigeria.

The adjournment came at the request of the central bank and MTN lawyers.

"We are still making moves towards an out of court settlement," a central bank lawyer told the court.

An MTN lawyer said discussions were ongoing.

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