The Federal Government has again ordered Africa’s leading mobile operator MTN to pay back taxes of $2 Billion, just days after the government ordered it to repatriate $8.13 Billion, which it had paid into its home country through 4 Nigerian banks, namely, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank, Citi Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

MTN gave a brief statement to the market on Tuesday 4th September 2018, in which it confirmed that Nigeria’s attorney general gave “Notice of an intention to recover the $2 Billion (1.73 Billion Euros) from MTN Nigeria”. “Based on the detailed review performed, MTN Nigeria believes it has fully settled all amounts owing under the taxes in question,” said the company.


Nigeria’s Central Bank after ordering the 4 banks who it claimed helped MTN to illegally repatriate the funds, had also fined the banks. News of the unexpected tax bill has adversely affected MTN’s shares in the stock market as it has tumbled by as much as 7.5 percent to an almost 10-year low. It was also the latest challenge to hit MTN since it began operations in Nigeria 17 years ago.

MTN was fined $5.2 Billion in 2015 by Nigeria’s telecoms regulator for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards on its network. The fine was later reduced to $1.7 Billion after a series of negotiations with the Nigerian government.


Nigerians however, have decried the unfair taxation and charges being dished to MTN by the FG, they have taken to various platforms to express their concerns on how FG is trying to frustrate MTN out of Nigeria. And also reminding FG of the huge job losses that would be created should MTN make the move to leave Nigeria for good.

A journalist Funsho Arogunade writes this:

Nigeria needs deliverance quickly!

When you start to destroy yourself with your own hands, then there is a problem that needs help. How can you fine one of your biggest investors with over N5B all because of what?

When we say we are our own problem, people will start shouting “God forbid!”

Do you know the thousands of employees that will be rendered jobless if MTN decides to do what many have been pushing for? …leave the country?

If they do leave, do you think you will get to say ‘Yes, we have our country back’?

Let me just tell you now, we shall all suffer our life out!

Most of our networking and banking systems rely on MTN!

Nigerians sha! We know how to use our hands to destroy good things!

Another journalist also aired his views on the topic

Well said. At the end of the day, the said fine will still go to their pockets – they’ll never use it to fix our messed up telecoms sector (not like we have one). They must think MTN is the reason Nitel, or Ntel is struggling. I commend what Glo is doing or has done so far but they can’t do it alone. Etisalat has given up – I wish 9mobile well cos I prefer their data service. For Airtel – think about Econet… hopefully they won’t change hands in the near future. Our leaders are playing politics with everything possible so I won’t be surprised if they frustrate MTN out of the market to reintroduce another “national carrier.”  I feel like I’ve started going off point. I rest my case.

Going further another Nigerian Kayode Babalola wrote on Instablog9ja that

Wait, who else has noticed how the Nigerian government is trying to frustrate MTN out of the country? It’s almost like every time you blink, there’s one ridiculous fine or the other being served the telecommunications company.

Before it was $5.2 Billion. Last week it was the CBN asking them to pay another $8.1 Billion dollars, this week now it’s the attorney general ordering them to pay yet another $2 Billion dollars.

Billion, Billion, Billion! Which way Nigeria ehn?

So if MTN decides to pack and go what will happen to the hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that it currently employs? We complain all day about the unemployment rate, but we seem to be doing our best to make matters even worse.

We hear they have paid Trillions in taxes since it came to Nigeria, and no doubt they pay Billions in levies yearly to NCC. But no, that is not enough for our government.

How do we want to attract foreign investors if we are frustrating the ones we have? In the past three years alone, Woolworths has left, Tiger Brands too, Sun International is also about leaving the country.

At this rate let MTN not say it wants to go o because it won’t even be funny at all. And if we the masses that will suffer it the most.

Do you think these multiple taxation on MTN by the FG is fair?

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