The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has halted the plan by a consortium of 13 local banks to take over the operations of Etisalat for failure to continue with the refinancing of the loan that the telecoms company took from the banks in 2013.

The halt on the planned takeover, was the outcome of the meeting held on Friday in Lagos between the CBN, the telecoms company and its creditors.

Etisalat in 2013, took a loan of $1.2 billion (N377 billion) from a consortium of 13 local banks for network expansion and upgrade, but defaulted in the refinancing of the loan, while blaming its inability to refinance the loan on devaluation of naira and scarcity of dollar.

Disturbed by its inability to continue refinancing of the loan, the 13 banks, on Tuesday, threatened to take over the operations of the telecoms company.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, had on Thursday, met with CBN on the issue of indebtedness of Etisalat, and at the end of the meeting which was attended by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta and the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, it was agreed that the CBN would invite Etisalat and its creditors to a meeting yesterday (Friday), to further discuss and to find a lasting solution to the indebtedness.

At the meeting yesterday, reprieve came for Mobile Network Operator as CBN ordered the 13 banks to stop all plans about taking over the operations of the telecoms company

According to a statement issued by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, shortly after the parley, yesterday’s meeting succeeded in halting the attempt by Etisalat’s creditors at bringing it under any form of take over.

Receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive.

Author: Yemi Olarinre