MTN Ghana CEO, Selorm Adadevoh has said that since the declaration of MTN as significant market power (SMP), the company’s share price has seen a margin increase followed by a an equally marginal dip a few weeks after.
He was speaking at the virtual press briefing just after the company’s maiden virtual Annual General Meeting in Accra.
According to him, at the time of the announcement, the share price of MTN on the Ghana Stock Exchange was GHC0.57, but soon, it went up to GHC0.59.
“However, in the weeks after the rise, the share prices experienced a steady decline till it reached GHC0.56,” he added.
Selorm Adadevoh however noted that he could not put the marginal rise and dip to the SMP declaration, given that this is not the first time the share price has behaved that way, meaning that factors, other than the SMP declaration could be responsible.
“We can’t draw a correlation between the share price behaviour and the SMP declaration yet,” he said.
Indeed, earlier at the AGM, Board Chair of the company, Dr. Ishmael Yamson did say that the MTN performed greatly during the year under review, but external factors such as COVID-19 and the performance of the Ghanaian economy has diluted the share value, and affected the dividend per share, which came to 6 Ghana pesewas.
Still on the SMP declaration, it would be recalled that MTN is seeking judicial review of what they called the “procedural processes” that went into the decision of the National Communications Authority (NCA) to declare MTN an SMP.
Selorm Adadevoh said until the court case is over, the intermediary measures NCA has proposed to “correct the imbalances in the market” are not yet in effect so their impact can not yet be determined.
He said NCA is even yet to give MTN the fine details of those intermediary measures, but since the matter is in court the process is on hold.
Under-declaration of revenue
Touching on the recent charge by Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, that between 2015 and first quarter 2017, telcos hid taxes to the tune of GHC470 million from the state, Selorm Adadevoh simply said MTN has remained committed and ethical as far as tax payment is concerned.
The Minister claimed that her figure was from the audit by the Common Platform that monitors telcos revenue flow in real time for purposes of revenue assurance – but again the MTN Boss said in the normal practice of auditing, you inform the auditee about your findings and give them the chance to respond.
“As we speak now no report has been presented to us regarding tax under declaration and the matter has not come up in any of our deliberations with the agencies that manage the Common Platform – Ghana Revenue Authority and National Communications Authority.”
He noted that, on the contrary, “MTN has consistently been declared the highest taxpayer in Ghana for many years by the GRA and Ghana Investment Promotion Council.
While the Communications Minister is yet to provide the evidence of her claim that telcos hid GHC470 million from the state, the telcos, led by the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications are seeking audience with Parliament, where the Minister made her allegation, to get to the bottom of the matter.
Selorm Adadevoh said COVID-19 created a about 25% spike in data consumption on the MTN network, leading to an appreciable increase in some of their revenue lines, but voice usage and revenue remained fairly stable.
He however noted that the pandemic had an adverse effect on their supplies and the cost of it thereof, but MTN remains committed to sustaining the COVID-19 impact alleviation packages for their customers, staff and other stakeholders.