9mobile Port Harcourt Regional Office, has been sealed by operatives of Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) over alleged tax liability of N107,958,536.96.
In a petition addressed to the Executive Chairman of RIRS, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo and his secretary, Kazeem Oladepo said the alleged tax liability represents the company’s disputed outstanding tax liability arising from Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) of expatriates, erroneously acknowledged by the revenue agency to be subject to tax within the state.
The letter read,
“As you know PAYE obligations are to states in which the employees reside, therefore, since EMTS did not have any expatriate(s) on its payroll who were residing in Rivers State within the assessment period, EMTS is clearly not indebted to the government of Rivers State for the alleged tax. EMTS had, at several meetings and by various correspondence explained and maintained that it is not indebted to the government of Rivers State as alleged by the RIRS, as it has never had expatriate employees working or residing in the state, and provided relevant documents in support of its position.”
How the closure affects 9mobile
Since the regional office closure for over two weeks, the company has recorded immense financial loss as the sales outlets which are within the premises remained closed. This has so far prevented the company from serving its esteemed customers.
The company will have a whole lot to deal with as regards reputational damage. The revenue agency’s bold display of its sealed order on the premises of the communication company, is believed to have established a perception in the public space that 9mobile is a tax defaulter.
The labour market is also affected as employees of 9mobile, have been forced to stay at home.
What has changed since 9mobile transformed brand from Etisalat
According to the information provided by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecommunication company had an increase in the number of new subscribers in the month of May 2017 after 9mobile’s former technical partners, Etisalat UAE pulled out in late June 2017 and withdrew its brand name rights.
In a similar circumstance, 9mobile alongside Globacom reportedly recorded an unfortunate loss of a combined total of 471,782 of their internet mobile subscribers in April 2018.
In mid-May, a Federal High Court in Abuja suspended the planned sale of 9Mobile. Having claimed to have been left out during the sale of the distressed telecommunication firm, Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited requested for the sum of N1 billion as general damages and a refund of their investment funds totalling $43.3 million.
Teleology holdings, winner of the bid for troubled the GSM operator, had in the same month (May 2018), made a payment of $50 million deposit and was granted a 90-day deadline to pay the $251 million balance. In June, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, requested that the company pay an additional $50 million as payment for the firm.