Nigerian authorities have revealed that telecom giant MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) has paid $53 million for an out of court settlement over its tax dispute in the country.
MTN Nigeria is in court with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) over accusations of unpaid taxes and dividend repatriations totaling $8.1billion.
But the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele said this week in Abuja that the regulatory bank deemed the $53m paid by MTN as notional sum sufficiently absolving it from any wrongdoing. Emefiele spoke at a monetary policy meeting at which the bank left interest rates on hold at 14 percent.
Months backs, MTN Nigeria had been ordered by the CBN to return $8.1 billion “to the coffers of the CBN” whilst the AGF has alleged unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports and that approximately $2.0 billion in relation to these taxes be paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Tax disputes in Nigeria had caused a crash in the stock values of MTN’s parent company in South Africa and raised concerns about the future of the company in Africa’s largest economy – MTN’s largest market.
CBN moves to resolve conflict with MTN, four banks
Both the CBN and MTN Nigeria agreed it was in all parties’ interest to settle out of court as the CBN agreed the financial regulator had been provided with new information by the telco and its banks which were reviewed.
“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the Banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution.
“We assure all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.
“The CBN welcomes all legitimate investors to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities in Nigeria,” said the CBN in an official statement months back.