MTN Nigeria has stated that banks have been indebted for it to the song of N40.3 billion at the end of quarter 2021 about the account of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD).MTN informed that its digital earnings grew by 101 per cent and fintech earnings by 28.5 per cent as customers continued to embrace more electronic products and services, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company, in its Q1 financial report, said the business continued its recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown as the market improved. It, however, said service revenue for the enterprise was largely flat year-on-year (YoY) mainly due to the non-recognition of USSD earnings in Q1. The telecommunications firm said normalised growth (excluding USSD revenue) was 2.6 per cent, adding that”we continue to engage with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the deposit money banks (DMBs) to conclude the operational modalities for the new pricing framework that has been agreed upon for USSD services.”The mechanism for and time of this recovery of the industry-wide outstanding debts that exist for USSD services given to the DMBs form part of the process. At the end of Q1, N40.3 billion has been due to MTN Nigeria. MTN said costs rose by 14.8 per cent, mainly driven by a 19.2 per cent growth in operating expenses arising out of a hastened site rollout and the ramifications of Naira depreciation on lease leasing expenses.
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It pointed out that the overall increase in expenditures was partially mitigated by the comparatively moderate expansion of 7.8 per cent in the expense of sales following the suspension of new SIM sales and activations. As a result, MTN said its EBITDA rose by 19.1 per cent, supported by revenue growth, together with the EBITDA margin expanding by 0.9 pp to 53.1 per cent. Going forward, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said that the company’s 2021 priorities remain unchanged, with a clear focus on sustaining double-digit earnings development, driving 4G network growth and positioning our fintech company for accelerated growth to unlock its full price. Toriola said the acquisition of an extra 800MHz spectrum positions us to deliver improved service speeds to Nigerians in service of the Government’s broadband initiative.”We will continue to maintain our expense efficiency programme to reinforce our financial standing and encourage margins. We stay in dialogue with all the DMBs on a pricing alternative for airtime sales commission while diversifying our airtime recharge stations to offer our readers more choices to buy airtime and stay connected.”We will pursue deeper and stronger stakeholder relationships and enhanced shared significance throughout our stakeholder ecosystem while ensuring that our actions align with the Government’s growth schedule. MTN said after the commencement of both SIM sales and activations, the initial run-rate of developments could be slower than usual as a result of new procedure requirements, system limitations and loss of qualified places for SIM registration. The company said this may affect the rate of developments in the short term,”we’re optimistic that the current procedures underway will entrench a stronger and sustainable enrollment procedure as we reaccelerate subscriber growth over the medium term.”As the economy continues its steady recovery in the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which impacted the business in 2020, we expect that the base effects will partially influence our commercial and monetary trends in the remainder of the year. Although access to foreign exchange remains a constraint, we strive to minimise its influence on the business. Ultimately, we’ll continue to manage and invest in the resilience of the enterprise and networks since we monitor the longer-term economic potential consequences of this pandemic.”