MTN on Wednesday withdrew its lawsuit against the Nigerian Communications Commission over N1.04tn ($5.2bn) fine and paid N50bn ($250m) towards a probable settlement.
But the Federal Government said the next line of action would be determined after verifying the MTN’s payment claim.
The telecommunications company said its decision was based on renewed steps towards a negotiated settlement and to create a good atmosphere for further negotiations.
Speaking on the issue, the MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, said, “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome.”
He said the company had paid N50bn to the Federal Government, “as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution.”
This came about two weeks after the Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, had told journalists that the Federal Government could consider reducing the fine a second time should MTN show its readiness for amicable settlement by paying a substantial amount of the fine.
“We shall also be open to talks with them (MTN) if it also withdraws its case from court because you cannot say you are seeking for negotiation with the government when you still have a case in court against it,” the minister had said.
According to Punch, a judge in Lagos had in January given both parties up until March 18 to reach a resolution, after MTN had asked the court to arbitrate in the dispute, saying the NCC had no legal grounds to order the fine.
Speaking to our correspondent, the Managing Director of Africa Analysis at MTN, Dobek Pater, said the firm’s withdrawal of the case with a “good faith payment” of $250m (N50bn) was based on renewed steps towards an amicable settlement and to create a conducive atmosphere for further negotiations.
“This is a sign that the fine could be reduced much further. There is some sort of negotiation taking place and the parties are migrating towards a common ground.”
MTN makes 37 per cent of its sales in Nigeria.
Moolman also said, “Our industry in Nigeria is an incredibly important example of the remarkable progress in the Information and Communications Technology sector, particularly as a much-needed catalyst for socio-economic growth and development at this time.”
But the Special Assistant to the Minister of Communications, Mr. Victor Oluwadamidare, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the government had to verify the claim that the company had paid some money.
He said, “Let me say that I am not competent to speak for the Federal Government. You know the people that can speak for the Federal Government and for the Presidency. I can only speak for the minister and for the Ministry of Communications.”
Interswitch is the Most Valuable African Startup
Interswitch, the leading payment processing company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is Africa’s most valuable start-up at a US$ 1 billion valuation.
Founded in 2002, Interswitch uses switching infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and powered banks’ ATM cards. Presently, the company has over 11,000 ATMs on its network.
In 2010, Helios Investment Partners bought two-thirds of the company and in the following year, Interswitch bought a 60 percent stake in Bankom in Uganda.
Interswitch owns Verve, Nigeria’s most used payment card, and accounted for 18 million of 25 million cards in circulation in Nigeria. The company also owns Quickteller and recently purchased VANSO, a mobile-focused technology provider to banks.
Like Interswitch, Stripe, the company that acquired Nigeria’s Paystack for over US$200 million, is the most valuable startup in the USA at over US$70 billion valuation.
Klarna, Nubank, Paytm and Grab leads in Europe, Latin America, India and Southeast Asia with valuations of US$10.65 billion, US$10 billion, US$16 billion and US$14 billion, respectively.
E-commerce Black Friday Sales Estimated to Surge by 40% to 10.2 Billion
The 2020 holiday shopping season will be unique, as the pandemic shifted consumer behavior from retail stores to online shopping. In response, many retailers moved their services online to not miss out on this year’s profits. Atlas VPN team decided to look into how e-commerce sales are set to perform in the upcoming long weekend.
Researchers predict that the US e-commerce revenue will exceed last year’s earnings by 49.5% on Thanksgiving day, totaling $6.18 billion in revenue. Black Friday is calculated to reach $10.2 billion in sales, exceeding last years numbers by 39.4%
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her tips on how to stay safe when shopping online during the holiday season:
“Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals from unknown sellers, as cybercriminals will also expect to turn a profit during the holiday season, even though they are not selling anything, except maybe a bag full of disappointment.”
Finally, analysis shows that on the last day of the long and full of special offers Thanksgiving weekend, consumers will go all out to bring record sales for e-commerce businesses, adding up to $12.89 billion.
To look at these five days from a wider perspective, e-commerce companies can expect to earn around 39.72% more than they did last year.
Alibaba Merchants Sell $40B in First Half Hour of Singles Day 2020, More than 2019 Event Full Sales
Singles Day 2020 was a roaring success, cementing its position as the world’s biggest shopping holiday. Sales across Alibaba’s platforms during the event totaled $74.1 billion, up from $38 billion in 2019.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, within the first 30 minutes of the event, the gross merchandise volume (GMV) surpassed 2019’s full-event sales, reaching $40.87 billion.
Moreover, instead of live events, Alibaba had 400 company executives and 30 celebrities hosting livestreams. Based on a study by Coresight, the Chinese livestream market is set to rack in sales worth $125 billion in 2020, compared to $63 billion in 2019. The US livestream market is a small fraction of that, valued at $5 billion.
China’s Tech Heavyweights Lose $280 Billion in Market Cap
Alibaba Singles Day 2020 dwarfed other major shopping holidays as has been the trend in previous years.
According to Practical eCommerce, Amazon Prime Day 2020 sales totaled $10.4 billion up from $7.16 billion in 2019. Cyber Monday sales in the US amounted to $7.9 billion in 2020 according to Statista. Black Friday and Thanksgiving added $9.7 billion to the figure to make $17.6 billion for the weekend.
Similarly, in 2018, Singles Day sold $30.8 billion while Prime Day sold $4.19 billion and Thanksgiving weekend got $14.2 billion.
However, the 2020 Singles Day event came in the wake of Ant Group’s suspension of a $37 billion listing. The suspension resulted in a $76 billion drop in Alibaba’s market cap, as the tech giant owns a two-thirds stake in Ant Group. Moreover, China’s regulators released anti-trust draft rules prior to the event, aimed at controlling monopolistic behavior.
Following the release, Alibaba shares plunged by 9.8%, as JD.com shed off 9.2%. Tencent similarly saw a 7.39% drop and Xiaomi fell by 8.18%. For the five companies, there was a combined loss of $280 billion in market capitalization.
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