MTN to Pay Disputed Taxes and Seek Legal Redress
In a bid to resolve the current impasse between MTN and the Kogi State Government over disputed taxes, the Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, has advised the telecommunications company to pay the revised N50,000,000 (Fifty million naira) Social Services Contribution Levy (SSCL) to the state revenue agency and seek legal redress in court afterwards. Mr. Adebayo made this known in a statement issued in Lagos where he advised both parties to prioritize national interest and always explore dialogue or seek legal resolution of contentious matters. He also reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission had similarly advised MTN to pay the revised sum and seek legal redress.
Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) sealed MTN sites in the state capital and other locations on Tuesday last week over claims that MTN has refused to pay the N120,000,000 Social Services Contribution Levy (SSCL) due to the state in 2017 and 2018. The state government had further reviewed the total figure down to N50million during the course of discussions with MTN. MTN on the other hand has repeatedly claimed that the levy was illegal because it was arbitrarily fixed by the State Government even though the powers to determine such rates reside with the Hon. Minister of Finance, as contained in the Taxes and Levies Act.
ALTON Chairman has called on both parties to remain law abiding and thread with caution in the interest to security and socio-political stability of the country. “We would like to remind all stakeholders that telecommunications facilities play very important roles in security and economy, hence their classification as, Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).” “As the general elections approach the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will rely on telecommunications facilities of all GSM Operators to transmit election results across the country for collation. The nation cannot afford to have running disputes between telecommunications operators and state governments.”
“ALTON is glad that MTN and other operators are up to date on all other undisputed taxes and levies due to State Governments. We therefore advise our members to continue to remain law abiding as they have been.” “We commend the Kogi State Government for agreeing to hold further dialogue in a bid to resolve this issue. We humbly advise State Governments across the country to work closely with telecommunications operators and build strong partnerships for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.”