Etisalat Nigeria has dismissed reports making the rounds in the media that it is being investigated by the EFCC over utilisation of the 1.2 billion dollars loan obtained from a consortium of banks.
A statement by Mr Ibrahim Dikko, the Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria on the company’s website in Abuja on Thursday described the reports as blatant false and most unfortunate.
Etisalat Nigeria had obtained a 1.2 billion dollars medium-term seven-year facility for the purpose of expanding its network and improving the quality of service on its network.
Dikko said that the economic downturn of 2015 and sharp devaluations of the naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the loan value.
He said that this prompted Etisalat to request a restructuring loan from the consortium.
He said that the report was most unfortunate considering the damage such misleading information could have on its business and the entire communication industry in the country.
Dikko said that a simple interrogation of the rigorous process for securing a syndicated loan from a consortium of reputable banks would have exposed the truth to the original writer of the story.
He said that the concerned parties had access to its books and did not require an investigation into how the loan sum was utilised.
“It is crucial for the media to correctly inform the general public by providing the relevant micro-economic context Etisalat Nigeria encountered in meeting up with the loan obligation.
“Contrary to the widely reported misrepresentations about Etisalat Nigeria’s debt obligation to the consortium of 13 banks, it has become pertinent to set the records straight,’’ it said.
Dikko said that Etisalat had consistently and conscientiously met with its payment obligations prior to this time.
“As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium stands at 227million dollars and N113 billion, a total of about 574 million dollars, if the
naira portion is converted to dollars.
“This in essence means almost half of the original loan of 1.2 billion dollars has been repaid,’’ he said.
He said that Etisalat had continued to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced
He further explained that the infrastructure investment and services for which the loan was secured were paid through its banks, adding that these were verifiable.
“We hereby appeal to our media partners to continue to uphold the ethics of the profession by exercising some restraint particularly in the publication of such misleading and damaging information.
“We have been accessible and remain available to the media to clarify or verify information when required,’’ he said.