The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has written a letter to the management of Access Bank, seeking a possible meeting with the lenders. The letter, dated June 21, was addressed specifically to the Managing Director (MD), Access Bank, while the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the MDs of Guaranty Trust Bank; Zenith Bank and United Bank for Africa Plc were copied.
In the letter, titled: ‘Indebtedness of Etisalat to a consortium of banks’, signed by its Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the commission noted that “in view of the foregoing, it has become imperative that there is a meeting between the consortium of banks and it (NCC) to discuss the issues and find a lasting resolution.”
NCC however, stated that while it recognizes the right of the banks to foreclose on the debt, it is expedient to draw the lenders attention to certain salient issues.
According to NCC, the Nigerian Communications 2003, Act S38 provides that:“S38 (1) the grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee and the license shall not be operated by, assigned, sub licensed or transferred to any party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted.”
“S38 (2): A licensee shall at all time comply with the terms and conditions of the license and the provisions of this Act and its subsidiary legislation.Condition 12 of the Unified Access Service License (UASL) issued to EMTS also mirrors the provisions of the NCA 2003, which is reproduced above.
Condition 15 of the license provides that EMTS shall notify and obtain the prior approval of the commission in respect of any change in the control of any of the shares in the license and such notification shall be given as soon as practicable prior to the proposed change in structure.
In view of all these, the commission said as a responsible regulator, it is concerned about the likely implications of the takeover for subscribers on the Etisalat network in particular and the telecommunications industry at large.