OBINNA EZUGWU

South African Telecom giant, MTN Group, has said it plans to sell additional 14 percent stake to Nigerians in its bid to deepen inclusion of Nigerians in its ownership structure.

The Group’s President, Ralph Mupita who made the disclosure when he led a delegation to pay courtesy visit to the presidential villa on Friday, said the company wants to have the largest retail-based shareholding in Nigeria.

“We want to deepen our structure of ownership in Nigeria. We will sell another 14% to Nigerian individuals and institutions. We want to have the largest retail-based shareholding in Nigeria,” he said.

“We want at least 2 million Nigerian shareholders, deepening our roots in Nigeria.”

Mupita added that MTN is a corporate citizen and therefore is responsible in all the countries where it is represented.

“Our vision is to drive digital solutions for Africa’s progress, and in MTN, we are building PAN-African leadership.”

Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo who received the team at the Villa, charged the group and other corporate organisations operating in Nigeria to be more accountable and people-centred in their services and ownership structure.

According to a statement from his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said that corporate organisations operating in Nigeria should ensure there is accountability in the provision of services to customers and pay greater attention to the needs of the people.

“Corporate organizations should be more accountable in their services, in the ownership structure, and also in paying attention to the needs of the people,” he said.

“Companies that ensure this will experience progress, as this is the right direction to go. Going forward, most corporates will find that attaching greater importance to the people is the way to go.”

Osinbajo said that for telecoms firms such as MTN, “financial inclusion is crucial, so is broadband connection in deepening access and will help to connect hard-to-reach places, and to retail social welfare and services.”

While acknowledging bumps in the relationships between the MTN brand and Nigeria, the Vice President applauded the company for its contribution to the country, adding that the company “is clearly an important part of Nigeria’s story.”

“The company’s investment was crucial when Nigeria needed to show that not only is there a large population in the country, but that it is a large market. The market was severely underestimated for a long time.

“So, MTN is an important part of our story, we regard MTN as an important partner.”

Other members of the MTN Delegation at the Villa include the Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe; Group Chief Finance Officer, Tsholofelo Molefe; MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola, and Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo