MTN: 10,287 -10 (-0.10%)
MTN Nigeria asks tribunal to rule on tax treatment of $1 bln fine
(Adds quote, details)
By Chijioke Ohuocha
LAGOS, Aug 2 (Reuters) - MTN Nigeria has asked a
Nigerian tax tribunal to rule on whether the company should pay
corporate tax on a 330 billion naira ($1.1 billion) fine, a
spokesman for the telecoms company said.
MTN Nigeria, part of South Africa's MTN Group, was
originally fined 1.04 trillion naira for failing to deactivate
more than 5 million unregistered SIM cards, but it negotiated a
reduced fine to clear its path to list on the Nigerian Stock
Exchange earlier this year.
MTN Nigeria said it had requested the judicial review after
the Nigerian tax authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service
(FIRS), disagreed with the company's accounting treatment of the
fine as an operating cost.
"We believe that the fine should be treated as part of cost
of running the business but the FIRS thinks otherwise," MTN
Nigeria's spokesman said.
"We've paid everything to the FIRS then we went to the
tribunal and because the case is with the tax tribunal the
government can't access the money."
Nigeria's tax service was not immediately available for
The MTN spokesman said the group was waiting for the
tribunal's decision, which could set a precedent for how
penalties are treated by companies registered in Nigeria.
The telecoms company listed its shares on the Nigerian stock
market in May in a floatation that valued it at $6.5 billion,
turning it into the second biggest company on the exchange.
Nigeria is MTN's biggest market, with 58 million users in
2018 and it accounts for a third of the South African group's
($1 = 305.85 naira)
(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alexis
Akwagyiram/Mark Potter/Jane Merriman)
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