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20 Jun 2017

Fresh fears over job loss as Etisalat changes shareholders

With the announcement by Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited also known as Etisalat Nigeria of its shareholding restructuring, the telecoms industry has been smitten with fear due to a looming massive job loss.
It was feared that most staff in all the telco’s offices across the country may further be pruned to the barest minimum, which may affect the human capital and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
Although Etisalat had informed the public, last week, that the negotiations with the consortium of lenders were considering a number of possible options. And the first stage of this has begun with a change in shareholding that has been announced to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange yesterday’s morning.
In his defence, Etisalat Nigeria, Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, maintained that discussions were ongoing regarding other issues such as the trading name during this transition phase.
“Operations and services to our subscribers remain normal and will in no way be affected as we continue to deliver quality services to our subscribers. We will continue to tap into the rich, creative and innovative resources within our workforce to build a stronger business upon the stable foundation we have laid in our nine years of operations.

“Etisalat Nigeria wishes to express its profound gratitude to the Government, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their patriotic zeal and tireless efforts at ensuring collaborative and productive engagement. We are also appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from the media since inception and we count on their continued support as we transition to a stronger business. We will update our stakeholders and the public on further developments shortly”, he said.
It was observed at the Banana Island and Oriental offices of the telco, on Tuesday, that all cadre of employees were going about their normal schedule without any trepidation or intimidation by any security operatives as common to business take over.
It would be recalled that the telco had been under pressure since 2016, following the demand notice for the recovery of a $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) loan facility it obtained from a consortium of banks in 2015.
The loan was a foreign-backed guaranty bond meant to assist Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.
At a point, during the debt impasse, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria mediated when the consortium of banks threatened to take over the the telecoms provider. However, a source close the telco but pleaded anonymity disclosed that part of the reconciliation is the shareholding restructuring and other shake may be seen subsequently in the next couple of weeks.
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