Nigeria's attorney general drops multi-billion dollar tax dispute against MTN

A man walks in front of an advertisement billboard of MTN phone company in Abuja, Nigeria May 25, 2015.
  • MTN Nigeria says the government has dropped its demand for $2 billion in tax arrears. 
  • Last year, Abubakar Malami, Nigeria's attorney-general, asked MTN to pay $2 billion in taxes relating to the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008.
  • MTN to withdraw the case from the court and face Tax authority and Nigeria Customs Service.

Nigeria's attorney general has dropped demand over the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears against MTN, the company said.

In a statement issued by MTN Nigeria on Friday, January 10th, 2020, MTN Nigeria added that Nigeria's attorney-general (AGF) has also decided to refer the matter to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to resolve contentious issues.

In September 2018, a letter from Abubakar Malami, Nigeria's attorney-general, requested full payment of the tax bill from the South African telco firm.

In various correspondence between the office of the Attorney General and MTN Nigeria, the AGF noted that MTN should have paid approximately $2 billion in taxes relating to the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008.

MTN denied owing any outstanding tax, accused AGF Abubakar Malami, of “playing games” over $2 billion tax demands, and sued the Nigerian government. The matter is still pending in a court.

Ferdi Moolman, CEO of MTN Nigeria, said, "we are very pleased with the decision of the AGF and we commend him for his wisdom.

“We maintain our dedication to building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria and remain fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria."

The company said it will follow due court process in withdrawing its legal action against the AGF and engage with the FIRS and NCS on the issues.

MTN Nigeria stock top market value

Nigerian stocks closed on a positive note on Friday as All Shares Index (NSEASI) appreciated by 0.07% to close at 29,415.39 points. Market year-to-date (YTD) returns currently stands at 9.59%. MTN Nigeria topped market value list as shares closed flat at N116.

On a week-on-week basis, investors have gained more than N2 trillion as the Nigerian stock market competes on the global financial market as one of the best performers so far in 2020.


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