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Critical infrastructure: CBN invests N236.87 billion in 9mobile and Mafab



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Two telecommunications operators, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS) trading as 9mobile and Mafab Communications have received a total of N236.87 billion in a combination of debt and equity investment from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The fund was disbursed under the Critical Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) program of the bank.

Specifically, EMTS received N130 billion in debt funding for infrastructure while Mafab, the latest entrant into the telecom space received N64.87 billion, according to the CBN Development Finance report.

In addition, Mafab also received the sum of N42 billion as equity from the CIIF initiative.

According to the CBN’s document, the CIIF was for intervention in critical infrastructure. Part of the investment was to support the acquisition of a 5G license for Mafab.

The two companies that have received the CBN intervention fund are currently lagging in the telecom market. While the CBN noted that the CIIF program was established in 2019, it is unclear when the funds were disbursed, but it is clear that the impact of the investment is yet to be seen on the companies.

9mobile, which has been a distant 4th GSM operator has consistently lost subscribers to other players.

On its part, Mafab trading as Mcom, which acquired a 5G licence in December 2021 has remained in limbo in the telecom market. While the company announced its official launch in January last year, its SIM and router are not visible yet in the market, unlike those of other operators.