Following last week’s shutdown of MTN Nigeria’s Base Transmitting Station in Kogi State over alleged tax default, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has made known its determination to ensure that the dispute is resolved as quickly as possible.
To this end, the NCC’s Executive Commissioner in charge of Stakeholders Engagement, Mr Sunday Dare, will meet with officials of the Kogi State Government this week in Lokoja.
This is coming after MTN Nigeria strongly criticised the shutdown of its facility by officials of the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service.
A statement signed by the company’s Head of Corporate Relations, Mr Tobechukwu Okigbo, had earlier clarified that MTN Nigeria is not owing the Kogi State Government.
According to him, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service demanded that the telco immediately pay for the Employment Development Levy, Social Service Contribution levy, and annual rent for Right-of-Way on fibre optics cable.
But the Taxes and Levies Act under which the Social Service Contribution and Economic Development levies were introduced, requires that a chargeable fee be recommended by the Joint Tax Board. Any recommendation would be subject the approval of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance.
At the moment, there has been no such recommendation or approval of same by the Minister of Finance, MTN claims. Therefore, paying the fee, as the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service has demanded, would amount to multiple taxation.
“To the best of our knowledge, the Minister of Finance’s recommendation as provided in the Act is yet to be issued, and as such, it is unclear if the imposition of the fee by the Kogi State Government is on solid legal footing.
“At this stage, the demands of the KGIRS, if honoured, amounts to multiple taxations and the arbitrary shut down of our base transceiver stations and harassment of our partners will stand in the way of a reasonable resolution.”
The statement went further to inform that the company has met fulfilled all of its tax obligations to the Kogi State Government and have provided all the necessary evidence proving this claim to the State Government.
As we reported last week, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service claimed that the telco was owing a total of N120 million and had uncooperative in meeting the tax obligations.
Note that this is not the first time the Kogi State Government will be shutting down the facilities of companies located within its borders. Last November, facilities belonging to Forte Oil, the Bank of Agriculture, Airtel, and others were shut for allegedly owing taxes to the tune of N470 million.
In the same vein, this is not the first time MTN Nigeria is running into trouble with the Nigerian authorities, specifically as it relates to tax. As we reported, Nigeria Attorney General ‘s office had in September last year accused the telco of owing back taxes to the tune of $2 billion. The case is yet to be settled.