Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has said the regulatory action taken by the Commission to facilitate the listing of MTN Nigeria on the country’s stock exchange market has continued to bring economic gains to Nigeria.
This was indicated in a market analyst report released by NCC which noted that the telecom giant boosted market capitalisation, yielding dividends to shareholders. According to the report, MTN investors have raked in approximately N1 trillion in price appreciation and dividends since April 2020.
Recall that the listing of MTN was as a result of NCC’s effective regulatory action taken during the mobile network operator’s fine settlement agreement in 2016, which compelled the telco to, among other things, list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The listing was one of the outcomes of the NCC’s stringent regulatory posture, which served as a tonic for other telcos such as Airtel to follow the same direction.
As the country’s independent telecoms regulatory authority, the NCC, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), facilitated the landmark listing of the country’s largest telecommunications operator on the bourse.
‘This is in line with its mandate to promote investment, create a level-playing field for all licensees, ensure compliance to existing telecoms laws and facilitate the delivery of top-notch quality of service (QoS) to consumers,’ Danbatta said.
According to Danbatta, through this proactive regulation and timely intervention by the NCC, which lead to the listing of MTN on the NSE, a new vista of opportunity has been created in the history of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.
‘That important regulatory action enabled Nigerians, consistent with the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, to partly, own, manage and control MTN. This bold and courageous regulatory action is now transforming lives and boosting the economy,’ the EVC stated.
Danbatta also stated that the listing has helped to translate into action, an important objective of the Commission, which is to promote local investment and ownership in the telecom sector.
‘With MTN shares available in the capital market, it is expected that Nigerians will buy shares and by purchasing the shares of MTN, they will be financially empowered and be socially transformed,’ he said.
Stating that telecoms is a capital-intensive industry that requires continuous investment, Danbatta said the listing will enable the telecoms companies to raise capital for the expansion of their networks.
‘Also, one of the benefits of listing on the NSE is that telcos have an enormous opportunity for raising more capital for network expansion, which will, in turn, bring about improvement in the quality of service delivery and quality of experience for telecom consumers,’ he said.
The EVC further stated that ‘today, the capital market regulator and shareholder bodies have commended the effort of the NCC in making the capital market more resilient through the Commission’s regulatory action in facilitating telcos listing.’
He noted that the listing in the stock exchange will promote liquidity amongst operators, enhance their value as well as promote transparency.
He added that the Commission is committed, through its regulatory policies, actions, to creating the right environment to attract both Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) and local investment into the telecom industry for increased economic prosperity for Nigerians.