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MTN Pays $53m To Settle Nigeria Dispute- CBN

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday said it has settled the dispute over unauthorized repatriation of funds with South Africa’s telecommunications giant- MTN Group and the matter withdrawn from court.
The CBN had ordered MTN and its lenders to bring back a total of $8.1 billion it alleged the company had illegally repatriated using improperly issued paperwork between 2007 and 2008.
Fielding questions at the end of the CBN’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, Emefiele said the money paid by MTN was a notional sum and that the company has been absolved from any wrongdoing.
In apparent response to a statement credited to the main opposition candidate at the February 16 Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar proposing a free float of the Naira,
Emefiele noted in answer to another question that allowing such move could cause a currency crisis.
He assured that the CBN is “apolitical. We will remain apolitical.”
Currency controls imposed by Emefiele saw investors cutting their exposure to Nigerian assets as the once-promising emerging market was ejected from key bond indexes.
Higher oil prices and recent debt sales have helped it accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves. But growth remains fragile.
Emefiele imposed currency restrictions in 2015, defying advice from bankers to float the naira and raise interest rates as some other oil exporters had done. His decisions were in line with the stance taken by Buhari, an opponent of letting the naira float freely.
“On the issue of free float, the monetary policy committee has said it is wrong – it will certainly lead to capital flight,” Emefiele said.
“It will lead to massive, massive depreciation of the valuation of our currency, and ultimately to currency crisis in Nigeria,” he added.

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