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Friday, February 23, 2024

MultiChoice Nigeria settles tax dispute with FG, agrees to pay $37.3 million

Africa's Largest Pay TV Provider Resolves Long-standing Tax Claim, Eases Regulatory Tensions

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MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading pay TV company, announced on Thursday that its Nigerian arm has reached a settlement with the Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), agreeing to pay approximately $37.3 million in taxes, as reported by Reuters.

The resolution comes after FIRS froze MultiChoice Nigeria’s accounts in 2022 and imposed a substantial tax claim of N1.8 trillion ($1.27 billion) for its Nigerian operations, along with an additional $342 million claim for value-added taxes.

In a statement, MultiChoice Group outlined that the agreed tax amount of N35.4 billion to be paid by MultiChoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa Holdings would be offset against security deposits and previous good faith payments.

The satellite television giant, renowned for its DSTV subscription-based platform in Nigeria, emphasized the terms of the agreement, highlighting the collaborative effort between MultiChoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa to fulfill their tax obligations.

While requests for comment from MultiChoice Nigeria’s Public Relations Officer, Caroline Oghuma, remained unanswered, the company’s tax dispute with FIRS dates back to 2021, when commercial banks were appointed by the tax agency to recover the outstanding sum of N1.8 trillion.

Muhammad Nami, the former Executive Chairman of FIRS, expressed concern over MultiChoice Africa’s non-compliance, citing persistent refusal to pay value-added tax and denial of access to audit servers.

Amid legal wrangles and regulatory pressures, MultiChoice opted for a conciliatory approach in March 2022, withdrawing ongoing lawsuits and allowing FIRS to conduct a forensic audit to ascertain accurate tax liabilities.

The agreement underscored MultiChoice’s commitment to resolving disputes amicably and fostering transparent tax compliance practices.

With Nigeria contributing approximately 34 percent of MultiChoice’s total revenue, followed by Kenya at 11 percent, and Zambia at 10 percent, the resolution of the tax dispute marks a significant milestone in MultiChoice’s regulatory landscape across Africa.

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