Nigeria’s Attorney General drops $2bn tax claim against MTN Group

Shares in MTN Group jumped by around 5 per cent to 8,367 rand per share, as Nigeria’s Attorney General dropped its immediate demands or payment of $2 billion in back taxes.
MTN Group, Nigeria, Africa, Telecoms, Tax

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Nigeria’s Attorney General has withdrawn a demand for the payment of $2 billion in unpaid taxes by the country’s biggest mobile network operator, MTN Group.

In September last year, the Nigerian government initiated legal proceedings against the South African based telco, claiming that MTN Group owed close to $2 billion in unpaid back taxes related to its business in Nigeria. In total, MTN Group was accused of improperly removing a total of $8.1 billion from the country, between 2007 and 2008.   

On the 8th of January 2020, Nigeria’s Attorney General issued a letter to MTN Group saying that it would be referring the case to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Customs (NCS) for resolution, ultimately dropping its demand for payment of the $2 billion.

“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,” said MTN Group CEO, Rob Shuter.

In a statement published on the company’s website, MTN Group said that it would now “follow due court process to withdraw its legal action against the AGF and engage with FIRS AND NCS on this issue”.

MTN Group is the largest telco in Africa, claiming more than 233 million subscribers in 21 consumer markets across Africa. The company also provides enterprise services to businesses in 23 African nations.

Nigeria is MTN Group’s biggest market, where it boasts over 58 million subscribers.

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