By Bankole Wright
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) have moved to intervene in the takeover of Etisalat Nigeria over a US$1.2 billion debt.
A consortium of banks had taken over the management of Etisalat Nigeria over a syndicated loan of about US$1.2 billion granted the telecom company.
Spokesperson of the CBN, Isaac Okoroafor, said the move was to save jobs.
“Although it should ordinarily not be the role of a regulator to decide how individual bad loans are resolved, the CBN believes that Etisalat is a systemically important telecommunications company with over 20 million subscribers that if not well handled, may have negative implications for the banking system itself,” he said.
Okoroafor added that the banks might decide to downsize the company with over 4000 workers.
He said the report of CBN’s high-handedness on the issue was “the height of mischief and insensitivity”.
According to him, the CBN and the NCC, in the coming days, will meet with the syndicate of banks and the IHS Towers, the tower managers and the equipment suppliers, in order to achieve what he termed “a win-win outcome” for all stakeholders.