MTN In Fresh Trouble As FG Demands $2bn Tax Arrears

The Federal Government is asking MTN Nigeria to pay fresh N2bn tax arrears on imported equipment and payments to suppliers.

It was gathered that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in a letter to the company, said the tax arrears dated back to 10 years.

“The Attorney General notified MTN that his office made a high-level calculation that MTN Nigeria should have paid approximately $2bn in taxes relating to the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers over the last 10 years,” a statement signed by the Public Relations Manager, MTN Nigeria Limited, Funso Aina, stated on Tuesday.

This fresh demand is coming barely one week after the Central Bank of Nigeria asked the telecommunication company and its bankers to repatriate $8.1bn it allegedly paid as dividends between 2007 and 2015.

However, MTN Nigeria said an initial assessment of the period indicated that total payments made to the tax authorities in regard to the foreign imports and payments amounted to $700m, saying it had fully settled all taxes on the imports under scrutiny.

The company said after it presented its documentation to the Nigerian authorities, the government insisted on recovering the $2bn from it.

The latest demands come two years after MTN, Africa’s biggest telecoms company, agreed to pay more than $1bn to end a dispute with Nigeria over unregistered SIM cards and agreed to list on its stock exchange as part of the settlement.