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Senate Investigate $1.2 billion loan utilization by Etisalat

Senate on Tuesday has directed its joint standing committees to investigate the utilization of $1.2 billion loan collected by the Etisalat Nigeria.

The joint Committee are Banking, Communication, Capital Market, National Security and intelligence.

The Red chamber decision was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Adeola Olamilekan ttled :The need for senate’s intervention in recent Etisalat Nigeria $1.2 billion debt crisis titled .

Leading debate on the motion,Olamilekan noted that loan was acquired in 2013 as medium-term with a seven-year facility to fund expansion of the network from a consortium of 13 banks.

Olamilekan explained to the Senate that the company started defaulting on its $1.2 billion loan obligations to which bailouts were given to it from its parent company in Abu Dhabi.

He said, “Only about 42 percent of the loan has been repaid, remaining an outstanding debt of $696 million representing 58 percent of its capital, which Etisalat has failed to service since 2016.

“Since this year, the banks have been moving to take over the telecommunications company in order to recover their funds.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have intervened and raised issues of regulatory compliances in trying to prevent a takeover by the banks, but the intervention has failed to produce an agreement on the debt restructuring

“All UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala had exited the company coupled with the resignation of top key management officers of the company the chief executive officer Mr. Matthew Willsher, chief financial officer Mr. Wole Obasunloye, director and the third Shareholder/Partner Mr. Hakeem Belo Osagie.”

The Senator raised alarm that if the situation is properly handled it would portray the country’s business environment in the bad light and also have negative impact on foreign investments in Nigeria.

The lawmaker said, “Although it should ordinarily not be the duty of the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria to wade into individual debt crisis of private sector businesses but the senate is convinced that if this situation is not properly handled, it will have negative implications for the Nigerian business environment and on foreign investments in Nigeri.”

He said not less than 4000 jobs are at stake as a result of these dealings.

After exhaustive debate on the bill, Senate President, Bukola Saraki mandated the standing committee to investigate the matter and submit report within two weeks. 

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