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Nigeria has ordered MTN Nigeria to pay another $2 billion tax bill

Nigeria government said MTN should have paid approximately $2 billion in taxes relating to the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008.

MTN Group is facing another demand from the Nigeria government over the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears. In a background note on the capital repatriation, MTN said it had received a letter from Abubakar Malami, Nigeria's attorney-general requesting full payment of the tax bill.

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.

But MTN denied the claims, saying it has fulfilled the 10-year obligation with a payment of about $700 million under the taxes in question.

Tobe Okigbo, MTN Corporate Relations Executive, in a statement made available to Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa on Tuesday, said MTN had submitted comprehensive documentation to the office of the AG.

“MTN Nigeria has also completed an initial assessment of the full period which indicates that total payments made to the tax authorities in regard to these foreign imports and payments in aggregate are $700 million.

“There are valid reasons for the differences between the actual payments and the AG high-level assessment, Okigbo stated.

Malami, however, rejected the assessment and asked MTN to pay the $2 billion in full.

The arrears cover import duties on foreign goods and payments, VAT and withholding taxes.

The latest tax compliance demand is coming barely a week after Nigeria's central bank ordered Africa's telecoms giant to “refund a total of $8.1 billion moved out of the country" for breaching the country's forex regulations.

The South African firm denied involvement in improper repatriation, saying it will continue to engage with the relevant authorities on all these matters to vigorously defend its position.

Aderemi Ojekunle

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