Nigeria’s telecoms regulator has forced Nokia to close its office in the country because, it claims, the company has failed to pay a licence costing only $6,300.
The enforcement unit of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) closed and sealed Nokia’s office in Lagos this week.
Salisu Abdul, head of the enforcement unit, told journalists that Nokia had been operating in Nigeria without the required licence for many years. He said Nokia had applied for a licence three months ago but had failed to complete the process, according to Nigerian media.
The cost of the sales and installation licence is two million naira ($6,354), said Abdul.
Nokia told Global Telecoms Business: “The temporary closing of our administrative office in Lagos is an important matter to us. We continue to closely collaborate with NCC and are accelerating our efforts to quickly correct the situation. We remain fully committed to delivering world-class connectivity solutions to the Nigerian market and positively contributing to the country socio-economic development.”
Someone close to Nokia said that the company was working to normalise the situation and that the company continued to work in Nigeria.
The NCC’s Abdul told Nigerian media that Nokia might have to pay extra penalties in addition to the licence fee. “We have sealed off the premises and we will not open it till they comply. The penalty is dependent on the number of years they’ve been on ground. We might have to levy a fine against Nokia before unsealing the premises.”
He added: “We all know that Nokia has been in this country for a long period of time and for any entity to provide a telecommunications service in this country, they ought to have consulted the NCC to obtain the requisite licence. Nokia is involved in equipment manufacturing, supply and installation. What they ought to have obtained from the NCC is sales and installation licence.”
It’s not the first time that the NCC has come to blows with foreign telecoms companies operating in the country. Earlier this year the regulator imposed on South African-owned operator MTN a fine of $1.67 billion, negotiated down from an initial $5.2 billion.
In August, Umar Danbatta, vice chairman and CEO of the NCC, said that high taxes on telecoms companies threatened their continued operation.
(Source: Global Telecoms Business)