The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to submit receipts of the tax payments made by MTN to the agency for 2007 and between 2010 and 2017.
The request comes as the committee observed during its interaction with the agency on Wednesday that MTN is indebted to the tune of ₦451 billion.
The FIRS chairman, Mr Muhammed Nami, however, told the committee that MTN is already paying the taxes owed government in instalments.
Nami further disclosed that the sum of ₦10.104 trillion revenue is expected to be realized in the 2022 fiscal year, with the formal capturing of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms into the country’s tax net.
Nami, who was speaking during the interactive session on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), also unveiled plans for the introduction of Road Tax.
“On the issue of a digital economy, the FIRS has a department called International Tax Department which is handling such cases,” he said.
“Twitter and others are already registering with us. That is why in our revenue projections, we are raising it from N5 trillion in 2021 to N10 trillion in 2022. We expect the impact of those registrations to take effect.”
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its telecoms sector report says active internet subscribers grew from 143.63million in Q1 to 151.51 million subscribers in Q2 2020.
This reflecting a 4.59 percent increase in voice subscription quarter on quarter.
“Telecoms data for Q2 and Q3 2020 reflected that a total of 196,242,456 and 205,252,058 subscribers were active on voice as against 189,282,796 in Q1 2020. This represented a 4.59% increase in voice subscriptions QoQ.
“Similarly, a total of 143,636,816 and 151,512,122 subscribers were active on the internet as against 136,203,231 in Q1 2020. This represented a 5.48% growth in internet subscriptions QoQ. Lagos State has the highest number of subscribers in terms of active voice per State in Q3 2020 and is closely followed by Kano and Ogun States respectively while Bayelsa and Ekiti States have the least number of subscribers,” the NBS explained.
The report also shows that Lagos State recorded the highest number of subscribers in terms of active voice and internet in the quarter under review with MTN having the highest share of subscriptions.
This was closely followed by Kano and Ogun States respectively while Bayelsa and the Ebonyi States had the least number of subscribers.
MTN had the highest share of subscriptions. This is closely followed by GLO, AIRTEL, and EMTS respectively.
The Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has threatened to embark on a two-week industrial action over the alleged anti-labour practices by the management of MTN Nigeria.
The union, which is an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), issued the warning in a statement on Tuesday.
It also vowed to disrupt the services of the telecommunications company nationwide after several attempts to resolve the issues failed.
According to PTECSSAN, the issues bother on the remuneration of workers, exit packages for long-term staff, employee relations practices, and alleged abuse of expatriate quota, amongst others.
It accused MTN of disregarding its employees in the country, saying such an action was contrary to the core values preached by the organisation.
“MTN practices an unwholesome, insensitive, and discriminatory structure in the emoluments of some categories of workers.
“Workers on the same job level earn disproportionately. In many cases, members of a team earn more than their team leads and even more than their direct managers,” the union alleged.
It added, “Non-payment of severance benefits at the point of departure of employees after long years of dedicated and uninterrupted services to the company has become a deep frustrating practice to the live long guarantees for workers in MTN.
“The company claims it has not been paying exiting employees severance benefits, hence, it cannot be a matter for negotiation with the union despite the fact that social dialogue demands that all matters without exception concerning workers in the workplace are subject to negotiation.
“The rate at which companies in the telecommunications sector import excessive manpower to the country to do jobs Nigerians are not lacking in competence is alarming. It is becoming pervasive in MTN Nigeria as well.
“We have several expatriates in the company who do exactly what Nigerians do. Most of these expatriates are trained by Nigerians and we still wonder how the permits for these individuals were approved.”
The union warned that if the company fails to yield to its demands or source for another alternative to satisfy their business interests, its proposed strike would be wide and compelling with deep implications for the company’s businesses.
“Once again, we reinstate that if our demands are not fully and appropriately complied with by MTN Nigeria Telecommunications Limited on or before the next 14 days from today, we shall withdraw every guarantee of industrial peace within MTN Nigeria. Services may be disrupted across the nation throughout the network from the midnight of the 24th day of August 2020,” it said.
A Great Place To Work
In his reaction, MTN’s Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo, stated that the allegations made by the labour union were totally untrue and without any merit.
Okigbo, in a statement sent to Channels Television, insisted that MTN has built a ‘people first’ culture that empowers its employees, values inclusivity and hard work, and instills a responsibility for its customers and communities.
“This is what defines and unites us. MTN cares greatly about all its workers, deploying global best practice people solutions and policies that make MTN Nigeria a great place to work.
“We intentionally invest in our people. Indeed, MTN’s success in Nigeria is as a result of the hard work, commitment, and dedication of all staff, guided by a strong culture of people management,” the statement said.
It added, “Our people/workforce are our most critical competitive advantage and a key differentiator in the marketplace so we take staff welfare, remuneration, and career development seriously.
“We have stringent policies in place that promote meritocracy and protect our employees from all forms of harassment and discrimination and creates a workplace where employees feel valued and safe.”
Recently, the MTN group announced plans to exit the Middle East and focus on the African continent, stating that the Middle East environment was becoming increasingly complex and has contributed less to its earnings.
It explained that the move was part of its medium-term strategy, starting with the sales of its 75 percent stake in MTN Syria.
After the planned exit, the firm’s entire portfolio would amount to 17 subsidiaries in Africa.
Meanwhile, half-year earnings report sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that MTN Nigeria reported a half-year revenue of N638 billion in 2020, compared to N566.9 billion it reported in the same period last year, driven by growth in data revenues in the first and second quarters of the year.
In the second quarter of 2020, total revenue rose by 8.5 per cent to N308.9 billion, driven largely by higher data revenues.
The company explained that the growth in data revenue was driven by growth in data usage and traffic while adding two million new data subscribers in the quarter compared to 1.8 million in the first quarter.
PTECSSAN, however, insisted that the increase in revenue was enough reason why the company should not engage in unfair treatment of its staff in a country that contributes about 60 per cent in its entire Africa operations.
Africa’s largest mobile operator, South African telecoms giant MTN, announced Thursday it would pull out of the Middle East to concentrate on Africa and scrap its interim dividend under a blueprint to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
“MTN has resolved to simplify its portfolio and focus on its pan-African strategy and will, therefore, be exiting its Middle Eastern assets in an orderly manner over the medium-term,” the group’s president and CEO, Rob Shuter, said in a first-half results statement
“As a first step, we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75% stake in MTN Syria.”
The company which was founded in 1994, lists operations in Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran in its Middle East file, which also includes Afghanistan.
The statement said that in the January to June period, MTN’s subscriber base rose by 10.6 million to 251.5 million compared to end-2019.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda) rose 10.9 percent to 41.8 billion rand ($2.38 billion, 2.01 billion euros).
“MTN delivered strong results for the period against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions, exacerbated by the unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shuter said.
He singled out strong performances in Ghana and Nigeria as well as a “pleasing turnaround” in South Africa.
However, “no interim dividend (was) declared due to uncertainties resulting from COVID-19 impacts,” it said.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a N3bn fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria, against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the suit after being told by Malami’s Counsel, Habibat Ajana that the AGF by a letter dated January 8, 2020, had reviewed the issue against MTN and decided to withdraw its demand letter for a $2bn tax.
MTN’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), responded by saying that having withdrawn the demand letter, his client would drop its fundamental rights suit against the AGF.
In the suit, MTN had asked the court to award N3bn against the AGF for rights infringement.
The telecommunications firm filed the suit to challenge an August 20, 2018 letter written to it by the AGF, demanding $2bn alleged unremitted tax.
The AGF in its letter had accused the MTN of unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports and had subsequently asked it to pay approximately $2billion in relation to the taxes.
Through its counsel, Olanipekun, MTN had argued that the AGF acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities from 2007 to 2017.
MTN had also challenged the AGF’s authority to deal with issues around tax and customs duties which it said should be the responsibility of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
MTN Nigeria Communication Limited has filed a 9,100-page document in court to prove its N3bn claim against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Copies of the bulky document were brought in a coaster bus and delivered to the registry of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.
The telecommunications firm had last year sued Malami over a letter in which he demanded that they pay N242bn and $1.3bn as import duties, withholding and value-added taxes – a move which the firm’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), described as ‘malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis’.
According to Olanipekun, Malami acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities covering 2007 to 2017.
He, therefore, urged the court to award N3bn against Malami as general and exemplary damages.
The trial judge, Justice C.J. Aneke, had in May dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Malami, challenging the competence of the suit.
“From the endorsement on the writ, this suit was commenced on September 10, 2018 and a simple calculation shows that from August 23, 2018 when the cause of action arose to September 10, 2018, when the suit was instituted, a period of three months had not expired, as envisaged, for the suit to be statute barred,” Aneke ruled.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the case, however, stalled with Justice Aneke adjourning till January 30, 2020.
Telcoms giant MTN has said its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is the subject of an enquiry by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
MTN, which was listed on the Exchange last week, however, said it had not been accused of any wrongdoing by the EFCC.
According to a statement by the Company Secretary, MTN, Uto Ukpanah, which was posted on the NSE’s website, the telecoms giant received a letter from MTN on Thursday requesting information and documentation related to the listing of its shares.
Stressing that it has not been accused of wrongdoing, the company said, “We wish to reiterate that we received all regulatory approvals required to list our shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as publicly confirmed by the Nigerians Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“As a law-abiding and responsible corporate citizen, we are co-operating fully with the authorities. We are committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
According to Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, “MTN sought to come to the market by way of an introduction and they wrote to the SEC last week requesting for approval to register its existing shares. That approval has now been granted”.
The statement informed that SEC had received an application from MTN requesting registration of their existing securities.
Nigeria’s telecoms giant, MTN has appointed a former Central Bank governor and current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi as a Non-Executive Director effective July 1, 2019.
The appointment of the Emir is part of a board room shake-up at Africa’s biggest wireless carrier, which will also see the on-boarding of South Africa’s former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as a new group chairman.
In Nigeria, the appointment of the vocal former CBN chief Sanusi comes as MTN prepares to list its local unit on the Nigerian stock exchange, a condition of the settlement of a $1 bn regulatory action three years ago.
MTN also announced a separate board of prominent people to advise on broader African issues, which will be headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki and includes John Kufuor, a former president of Ghana.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed May 7 for ruling on a preliminary objection filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, against telecoms giant, MTN.
In September 2018, MTN had instituted a suit to challenge the legality of the AGF’s assessment of its import duties, withholding tax and value-added tax in the sums of N242bn and $1.3bn.
The AGF had, however, contended that MTN’s suit was instituted outside the time prescribed by law.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, counsel to the AGF, Tijani Gazali, who argued the preliminary objection urged the court to strike out the suit filed by MTN.
Gazali argued that the power of the AGF to write a letter to MTN for the payment of the import and withholding tax was included under Section 2A of the Public Officers Protection Act.
He said, “MTN filed this case as a result of a letter written by the AGF asking MTN to the pay tax due to the Federal Government of Nigeria over the past 10 years, but rather than responding to this directive they instituted this case.”
In the preliminary objection, the AGF’s counsel argued that the plaintiff in seeking redress on the subject matter, has just three months – from the date the cause of action arose – to institute the action.
He contended that the plaintiff commenced the suit in clear disregard of Section 2 of the Public Officers Protection Act, which provided that any action commenced against a public officer must be made within three months from the commencement of a cause of action.
The Gazali said the plaintiff’s failure to commence the suit within three months as stipulated by law robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He, therefore, urged the court to strike out or dismiss the suit.
MTN, through its lawyers, led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wole Olanipekun, told Justice Chukwujeku Aneke that the objections of the AGF was unfounded.
Olanipekun contended that the era of claiming that a suit was stature barred had been abolished in the Nigerian jurisprudence.
He cited Order 29 Rule 4 to the effect that the preliminary objection of the AGF was filed out of time and since there was no application for extension of time, it must fail.
The SAN also submitted that there was no competent application before the court.
He argued that the court cannot at this stage dismiss or strike out the suit without the evidence of parties.
Olanipekun then asked the court to dismiss the objection as being frivolous.
After listening to the arguments of both parties, Justice Aneke fixed May 7 for his ruling.