The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has had negative effects on the global economy, leaving governments, corporate bodies, and individuals wriggling in unexpected hardship and inconveniences.
In Nigeria, many organisations and billionaires have contributed towards cushioning the effects of the pandemic, and telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria Plc, is not left out. The telco has introduced new packages to support efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus in the country.
This was contained in a press statement issued, sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by the company and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday.
In the statement, the board, management and staff of MTN Nigeria and the MTN Foundation assured their customers of the company’s commitment to do everything possible to help them stay connected.
The telco recognizes the fact that this is an extraordinary time and it is important that people stay connected to those they love. MTN Nigeria said it would focus internally on its systems, processes and structures in order to ensure that the services it provides remain available to its customers.
Despite the unprecedented pressure and increased level of demand on its network, MTN is collaborating with the regulator, policymakers and other telcos to increase and sustain the capacity where it is most needed.
Some of the measures/packages introduced by MTN as a show of support to the government and its customers are:
- partnering with Nigerian Centre Disease Control (NCDC) and providing its staff with access to voice and data services, telephones and toll-free lines in order to coordinate their response.
- supporting government at the federal and state levels with communication systems, analytical response management and risk profiling. These tools will enhance the capacity and preparedness of each state to manage the outbreak proactively.
- dedicating a channel that will help in the distribution of health information to all their subscribers.
- providing subscribers with up to 300 free SMS messages per month and suspending transaction fees for all money transfers using the MoMo agent network.
- providing all SME customers of its enterprise business with one less thing to worry about. There will be 30 days of grace on their March invoices. SMEs that are unable to pay March invoices will enjoy uninterrupted services through April. This grace period is aimed at mitigating the impact of the shutdowns on small businesses which are the engine of our economy.
- commitment of N500 million by MTN Foundation towards addressing emerging medical needs.
The Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe, in his statement, said, “The threat that COVID-19 represents to Nigeria requires an unprecedented response from the public and the private sector. We must all work together to develop and deliver the solutions that will allow us to contain this threat and protect the most vulnerable in our communities across the country.”
It must be noted that MTN had earlier in support of the national effort to contain the coronavirus, supported the federal and state governments with communication systems, over N500 million worth of airtime, data and analytics. The company also supported medical personnel with over N1.4 billion worth of airtime, data and devices for connectivity, and some others.