OLU OJO PHILIP
The biggest challenge MTN Nigeria has faced since its inception in 2001 was the regulatory conundrum. The company has never found it easy with the regulators.
Both telecom and financial regulators have clobbered the telecom giants with huge fines in the past.
Major decisions taken by MTN Nigeria in the past have been driven by the regulatory challenges. Even its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange [NSE] was as a consequent of the regulatory problems.
MTN Nigeria’s quest to become a financial service provider through the mobile money services or Payment Service Banks (PSBs) is being slowed down majorly because of regulatory concerns.
The composition of MTN Nigeria’s new board seems to speak to the two identified challenges.
Ernest Ndukwe, a former boss of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the powerful and fearful telecom regulatory body has been appointed board chairman-designate taking over from Pascal Dozie.
Ndukwe’s pedigree and leverage is a huge asset for MTN Nigeria in navigating future regulatory challenges for the company. Nothing else should be added. MTN has never made a better decision in all its years in Nigeria.
When Omobola Johnson, former Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Technology from 2011 to 2015 is also added to the equation, an unrivalled formidable team is being built by the telecom giant.
Four of the six newly-integrated directors have a background in financial services including Michael Onochie Ajukwu (independent non-executive director), Muhammad Ahmad (independent non-executive director), Andrew Alli (non-executive director) and Ifueko Okauru (non-executive director).
AB Mahmoud (non-executive director) has a legal background and chaired the committee that drafted the Securities and Exchange Commission Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies 2011.
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These appointees are scheduled to take over from September 2, 2019.
The new board would be saddled mainly with the responsibility to maintain the teleco’s market position and push for a greater market share over other licensed service providers using different technologies including GSM, CDMA, fixed wireless and fixed wired.