MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (NGX Ticker: MTNN) earlier today through a publication on the NGX Exchange Limited clarified what it called an erroneous reports in the media alleging that the Company is indebted to the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of outstanding taxes.
In the said publication, MTNN said that contrary to the allegations that it owed taxes to the Federal Government, it has been making early payments of same to support Government’s revenue drive.
On Friday, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning said that MTNN has a payment plan with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to pay the tax remittance of two billion dollars.
“MTN is owing the government but there has been a payment plan undertaken with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) they are following.
“They are in Nigeria and have investments all over the country and are following through with the payment commitment made with the FIRS,” she said.
On January 8, 2020, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had sent a letter to MTN in which he said that following careful review and due consultation with relevant statutory agencies, his office would be withdrawing a $2 billion tax demand against the telecoms company.
The letter was sent after two years of allegation from the office of the AGF that the ICT company owed taxes from 2007 to 2017.
Evidence that emerged afterwards showed that MTN has consistently paid its taxes to the Nigerian government.
In the 20 years that it has been in Nigeria, the biggest telecommunications company by market share has paid over N2 trillion in taxes and levies to the federal government. In January 2020, the figure stood at N1.7 trillion, as confirmed by Mazen Mroue, the company’s chief operations officer recently at “MTN’s Value Contribution to Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Development. In a year, the figure has risen to more than N2 trillion.
In the publication signed by Uto Ukpanah, the Company Secretary, MTNN stated that it remains committed to conducting its business in accordance with applicable laws and is dedicated to contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria.
Part of the publication read;
As recently as last year, the tax authorities commended MTN Nigeria for its prompt payment of dues. In addition, when asked earlier this year, the company agreed to make advance tax payments ahead of established deadlines to support Government’s revenue drive.
This was also the case in 2020, when in response to FIRS appeal to support Government MTN Nigeria made an early payment of its 2019 Companies Income Tax (CIT) of N46.9 billion.
The Company did the same this year, between March 2021 and June 2021; making early payments of N95.5 billion for the 2020 CIT, which was due on June 2021.
A report by The Guardian stated that MTNN had also announced it responded to the federal government’s call for public-private partnerships as part of its tax remittance in August.
The partnership included the rehabilitation of critical road infrastructure in Nigeria which involves the reconstruction of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur