MTN Nigeria drops legal claim
Publish date: 13 January 2020
Issue Number: 855
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
MTN Nigeria is withdrawing its legal action against Nigeria’s Attorney-General and the Justice Ministry in a matter that saw the authorities seeking to recover around $2bn in back taxes from the wireless carrier. MTN said it would now be dealing with Nigeria's tax authorities directly. The authorities in 2018 refused to accept the results of MTN’s self-assessment. A Fin24 report notes that the telecoms giant on Friday said it was advised by its lawyers that the matter has been referred to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs (NC). MTN Nigeria said it would now be following due court process to withdraw its legal action and engage instead with FIRS and the NC. It added that it was committed to maintaining ‘cordial relationships’ with the country's regulatory authorities.
Shares in the MTN Group rose by more than 4% after the announcement. Nigeria is its biggest market, with roughly 60m users. A TimesLIVE report notes that MTN, whose local unit listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange last year, has said it would sell more shares to the public and increase local ownership once the tax row was resolved.