The decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) prevented 13 Nigerian banks from taking over the operations of Etisalat Nigeria following the company’s default in the refinancing of its $1.2 billion loan.
According to report, the operator borrowed the sum in 2013 to upgrade and expand its network. It was however unable to continue repayment of the loan – an action that prompted the decision of the banks to take over the company.
Commenting on the development, the Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Etisalat, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, assured Etisalat’s subscribers that the issue would be resolved, despite pressure from the creditors to take over the operations of the telecoms company.
“Yes we are indebted, but we have commenced payment, and we only stopped the flow of repayment few months ago as a result of devaluation of the naira and scarcity of dollar,” he said.
Dikko explained that although Etisalat had invested over $2 billion in the telecoms business, it needed additional money to expand its business and provide value added services to its growing customers which was why the company decided to raise additional $1.2 billon as loan.
In refinancing the loan, they agreed Etisalat was meant to pay certain percentage of the loan with interest on a quarterly basis, and it has been meeting up with that obligation until recently when it started defaulting, due to devaluation of naira, dollar scarcity, coupled with the economic recession, Dikko said.
He, however, said Etisalat was still in full control of its operations and has commenced fresh discussion with the banks to negotiate a new mode of refinancing the loan.
The situation is not affecting our service delivery and we will continue to provide quality services to our customers, Dikko said.
Some of the banks involved in the loan include: GT Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, EcoBank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank, and Union Bank.