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The Abu-Dhabi based telecommunications giant Etisalat International has decided to pull out of Nigeria citing the inability of the Nigerian group to settle internal loan re-financing with a consortium of Nigerian banks. Consequently, the Etisalat International group has terminated his management agreement with the Nigerian local group and has given them three weeks to stop using the brand.
The decision to pull out of Nigeria arose after the collapsed of its $1.2 billion loan restructuring talks. The Vice-President Regulatory and Corporate Affairs of Etisalat Nigeria Mr. Ibrahim Dikko confirmed the development stressing however that the local group being Etisalat Nigeria has made strenuous attempts to pay off the lingering loan. He further stated that about 40% of the total loan of $1.2 Billion has been paid and that effort is still ongoing to restructure the balance.
However, it appears the foreign technical partner Etisalat International does not seem to believe in this revival as all the foreign shareholders have left the Nigerian company leaving the international company no choice than to pull out his shares as well as take its brand along with it.
The Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat International further confirmed the development stressing that there was no need for the brand to remain in Nigeria aftermath of the loan negotiation failure. He, however, said that there is an ongoing discussion with the Nigerian group towards granting them a grace period of three weeks before phasing out the brand altogether.
It would be recalled that in June 2017, the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communication Commission NCC Mr. Tony Ojobo on behalf of the commission allayed the fears of the public especially the numerous subscribers of the network that the integrity of the network will not be compromised despite the challenges it is facing. Ojobo had gone on to assure the public further that the disagreement between the Nigerian Etisalat and her creditors will be resolved one way or the other.
Mr. OJobo had revealed that the regulatory body was aware of the indebtedness of the network operator to the various banks struggling for its jugular and that regrettable no solution seems in sight despite several mediation meetings brokered between the parties with the NCC and the Nigerian Central Bank as mediators.
Despite this, Mr. Ojobo added “The NCC wishes to reassure about 21 Million Etisalat subscribers that it will do all within its regulatory power to ensure that its subscribers continue to enjoy the services provided by the operator”
Whether such services will continue to come in the name of Etisalat or another brand name time will tell. However, it appears that the sun is about to set on one of the most robust and flamboyant telecommunication operators to have straddled the landscape of Nigeria. One thing is certain eventually if the name is lost and gone, Nigeria will surely miss that name Etisalat.