CBN hits MTN with another $2Bn demand

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The Federal Government has ordered mobile telecommunications operator, MTN, to pay back taxes of $2 billion.

This comes just days after the government ordered it to repatriate $8.13 billion in paid as unauthorized dividend payments.

MTN made this known on Tuesday in a brief statement to the market in which it confirmed that Nigeria’s attorney general gave “notice of an intention to recover the $2 billion (1.73 billion euros) from MTN Nigeria”.

“Based on the detailed review performed, MTN Nigeria believes it has fully settled all amounts owing under the taxes in question,” said the company.

News of the unexpected tax bill sent MTN shares tumbling by as much as 7.5 percent to an almost 10-year low.

This is the latest challenge to hit MTN since it began operations in Nigeria 17 years ago.

MTN was fined $5.2 Bn in 2015 by Nigeria’s telecoms regulator for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards on its network. The fine was later reduced to $1.7 Bn after a series of negotiations with the Nigerian government.

MTN has however denied any indebtness to the government as contained in the Atorney-General’s demand, saying it had paid all necessary levies and taxes.