MTN to give R250m to aid Covid-19 efforts across its markets

MTN's head office in Johannesburg. Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
MTN's head office in Johannesburg. Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Listed mobile operator MTN has announced a R250m relief package to aid Covid-19 efforts across its 21 markets.

MTN said it would focus on employees, customers, vulnerable groups, contributions to the government’s Solidarity Fund and participating in industry interventions.

On Tuesday, the company said it planned to raise R40m for its employees in need, through its MTN Global Staff Emergency Fund. Contributions from the group’s directors, managers and general staff will be the main source of the funds.

The chair, group CEO, group CFO and a number of MTN's directors have pledged 30% of their board fees and salaries for the next three months to the effort, including executive teams of both MTN Group and MTN SA, which have also contributed to the fund.

In addition, other staff members can also contribute by making salary sacrifices, said MTN.

Africa's largest mobile operator said over R150m would be invested in their Y’ello Hope Package for customers which includes free SMS services, the waiving of fees for certain mobile money transactions, discounted calling during off-peak periods, zero-rating of certain health, social services and educational sites and payment concessions to business customers.

The MTN Foundations across the operator's markets will be used to contribute towards tackling health emergencies to minimise the spread of Covid-19 through disease commodity packages. They will also assist with ICT services needed for health ministries and health professionals, as well as “enabling students to remain productive by accessing vital school and university content with a total contribution of at least R50m”, the company said.

In a statement, MTN's group chair, Mcebisi Jonas, said: “We believe it is the responsibility of all organisations to assist where they can during the pandemic. MTN plays a vital role in the mobile and telecommunications industry across Africa and the Middle East and it is vital that we assist our employees, customers and stakeholders during this difficult time.”

Group CEO, Rob Shuter, said: “We can positively impact millions of lives and our main focus is on keeping our network in good working order and enable our customers to connect with their loved ones during this most difficult time for all.”

MTN will also contribute R10m to the SA government’s Solidarity Fund.

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