MTN paid 13.5% of total tax collection by FIRS in 2021, telecom firm says

The telecom company, MTN, has said it paid N757 billion in direct and indirect tax to the Nigerian government agencies in 2021.

The company said it paid N618.7 billion in direct and indirect taxes to the FIRS in the 2021 tax year, making it the largest single biggest contributor to taxes in Nigeria.

In a statement by the company’s secretary, Uto Ukpanah, MTN Nigeria said its total tax contribution to all government agencies was 13.5% of FIRS’ total collection for the year.

“In 2021, MTN Nigeria’s total tax contribution to all government agencies including the FIRS amounted to N757.6bn while FIRS collected a total of N6.4trn tax revenue in the year,” the statement said.

“Specifically, MTN Nigeria paid a total of N618.7bn in direct and indirect taxes to the FIRS in the 2021 tax year, representing approximately 13.5 per cent of the total FIRS collection for the year.”

The telecom company also disclosed that it was recognised as the most tax-compliant organisation and a part of the top 20 taxpayers in the nation at the National Tax Dialogue event organised by the FIRS.

The Chief Financial Officer, MTN, Modupe Kadri, who received the awards on behalf of the company, said, “I am delighted at our performance and recognition at this year’s National Tax Dialogue event.

“While the past 24 months have been challenging for our country and nations worldwide, we are committed to supporting the Federal Government’s ongoing Economic Growth Recovery Plan.

“We will continue to invest heavily in network expansion with a focus on expanding access to under-served communities. We also plan to connect an additional 2,000 rural communities in 2022.”

The FIRS acknowledged MTN was one its biggest tax payers although a spokesperson did not immediately comment on the specific of its percentage contribution.

At the tax dialogue event at the State House, attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, FIRS celebrated and rewarded Nigeria’s highest paying and most compliant taxpayers, including MTN, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, NOCACO, AIRTEL and CHEVRON.

The executive chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, called for support for the tax system to make it function efficiently.

Speaking at the tax dialogue event, Mr Nami urged politicians to treat tax revenue generation as an apolitical issue.

While highlighting the revenue profile of the country in 2021, which showed that the FIRS contributed a monthly average of 59.45% of revenue shared by FAAC, Mr Nami stated that it had become clear that the survival of the nation is dependent on tax revenue.

“All hands must be on deck to support the tax system and make it function efficiently,” he said.

“However, it is surprising that some people have begun to play politics with tax revenue generation. We humbly invite the President to step-in to dissuade political tax gladiators to sheath their swords. Tax revenue is an inherently apolitical issue; it should be treated as such by all, irrespective of their political leaning.”

The FIRS boss further highlighted how the agency was able to record an unprecedented feat in tax revenue generation in 2021, adding that it surpassed its target and collected N6.4 trillion, the highest collection ever in the history of the FIRS.