Fresh off its hiking of transfer charges on USSD and just
over a year after the Nigerian government somewhat
pardoned it for not paying over $2billion in dodged taxes,
MTN is looking to drive Nigerian SMEs selling data and
airtime out of business.
The South African firm has compelled SMEs which
aggregate data and airtime sales to push only MTN
platforms while at the same time cutting down
commissions on sales.
Knowing that such action would bring undue inconvenience
to millions of Nigerians, MTN told the hapless partners to
“pacify customers and educate them to use MTNToplt,
MoMochannels as well as the debit card options on
MTN, like most South African companies operating in the
country, has always seen Nigeria as just a cash cow.
Not only has it long sought to monopolise the telco space, it
nearly paralysed Nigeria’s nascent renewable energy sector
when it tried to push out independent inverter retailers with
its battery product and over the past few years has been
trying to get its hand on the cash deposits of Nigerians.
Meanwhile, even South Africans don’t seem to trust MTN.
For example, at the end of 2019, MTN’s revenue grew by
12.6%in Nigeria and 22.9%in Ghana but in South Africa,
revenue only grew by0.4%.
The biggest casualties of MTN’s aggressive exploitation of
Nigeria are not just the SMEs who are seeing their
commissions constantly cut down till they die out of
Nigerians bear the biggest brunt, without even knowing it.
Nigeria has among the most expensive mobile data prices
in the world, more than 10 times what Indians pay.
Telcos like MTN take advantage of their massive size to
keep the price of data high so that they can keep extracting
money from unsuspecting citizens and a hapless country,
all the while repatriating all the money to South Africa and
not paying their fair share in taxes.
It is yet to be known if for once, the Nigerian government
and even big private institutions will stand up and stay
strong to this drowning of Nigerian SMEs and daylight
robbery of the country.