[Nigeria] Attorney General withdraws $2bn tax demand against MTN, refers matter relevant authorities
MTN Nigeria has for a long time now been trying to fight a $2 billion tax dispute in court with the Nigerian authorities.
The company, which is Africa’s largest telecoms operator has been accused of owing these taxes by the Nigeria Attorney General (AGF). MTN went ahead and filed a suit challenging the powers of AGF to deal with tax matters. The court action was then postponed to January 30 2020.
MTN now says that Nigeria’s Attorney General had withdrawn the tax demand. In A statement, the telco says AGF has decided to refer the matter to the relevant authorities, being the Federal Inland Revenue Service (“FIRS”) and Nigeria Customs (“NC”), with a view to them resolving the issues.
‘’Accordingly, the AGF has withdrawn its letter of demand for the aforementioned $2 billion that was issued in August 2018.’’ the statement read.
MTN Nigeria adds that it will consequently follow due court process to withdraw its legal action against the AGF and engage with FIRS and NC on this issue noting that it remains committed to building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria.
Commenting on the news, MTN Group CEO, Rob Shuter said “We appreciate this decision of the Attorney General which paves the way to an orderly and amicable resolution of this matter. MTN remains fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria and all regions where we operate.”
MTN is Nigeria’s largest operator with about 60 million customers. Its operations in the country have however faced a number of challenges. Telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has previously fined the mobile operator $3.9 billion for failure to disconnect inactive SIM cards. After a series of negotiations which took six months, the fine was reduced to $1.5. MTN paid a bulk of this fine last year.