The federal government of Nigeria has written to multinational telecommunications company MTN demanding payment of $2 billion tax arrears.
The letter was reportedly written by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
The tax arrears cover import duties, VAT and withholding taxes on foreign imports/payments, according to Malaki.
This is coming on the heels of the demand by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that MTN refunds $8.1 billion sold to it between 2007 and 2015 as dividends to offshore shareholders.
Recall that in 2015, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) fined MTN N780 billion, for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers, before it later reduced it to N330 billion
The AGF said the government came to the conclusion following a “high-level calculation” carried out by his office, which revealed that MTN should have paid approximately $2 billion in taxes on the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008.
The AGF also challenged MTN to do a self-assessment of the taxes and reconcile their books
MTN according to reports, responded that after conducting their own assessment, it showed that total payments already made to the tax authorities in regard to these foreign imports and transfers amount to $700 million.
The telecoms giant added that there were valid reasons for the differences between the actual payments and government’s assessment.
Malami however rejected the assessment and insists MTN to pay the $2 billion in full.