MTNgate: Nigeria is safe to invest, CBN boss

NIGERIA

Godwin Emefiele, governor of Nigeria’s central bank hasp allayed foreign investors’ anxiety over the safety of their investments in the country as amicable resolution of the issues surrounding the $8.1 billion refund imposed on MTN Nigeria becomes imminent.

Foreign investors have been jittery since the CBN’s order that MTN Nigeria refund $8.1 billion illegally repatriated as dividends. While some have been watching cautiously to know the outcome, some have exited, on fears the CBN would retroactively apply foreign exchange laws.

Though the bank has since denied this, many of those investors would rather wait for the conclusion of the MTN case before taking a decision.

Speaking at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja the nation’s capital, Emefiele disclosed that they are on the verge of making an
announcement and pleaded with journalists to give all the parties some time to tidy up loose ends.

According to him, “We have held meetings with the MTN Group from South Africa and we are on the verge of announcing the resolution. I am very certain that we have reached the end of the road on this issue, and I will continue to say that the sanctity of the CCI issued by our banks remain sacrosanct.”

He stated that “No other company is being investigated on the issue of CCI, no other person is being investigated on the issue of CCI, this is an
isolated matter and I will also say that we have foreign investors in Nigeria like Unilever, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness and lots of foreign investors who have been carrying out their businesses for over 50 years and they have conducted their businesses in a way that we instructed and that is why there have not been issues.”

The issue of MTN he said “is being resolved and there is no need for anybody to be worried. This issue will be resolved equitably and amicably for the benefit of all.”

Elaborating further, Emefiele told journalists that “you must know that in issues like this, there are several things involved in this matter, such
as whether the capital repatriation CCI was issued in 24 hours, and several others. Of course, these issues were dealt with over the period but the one that appears to have generated the kind of attention that we think it shouldn’t be generating is the issue of repatriation.”

He cautioned that “it is better for you to be slow in taking some of these decisions and when you take them you know that they are potent, and rational for those decisions. We were rational for the decisions we took because there were certain documents we expected to be submitted, those documents are now been submitted. We are in a process where we are saying this matter will be resolved.”

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