Friday, March 24, 2023

Cash-strapped Ghana slams $773 million tax penalties on MTN

The penalty, which the largest African carrier is contesting, was imposed as the nation battles a debt crisis and record inflation.

• January 14, 2023
MTN and President Nana Akufo-Addo
MTN and President Nana Akufo-Addo

The Ghanaian government has fined MTN $773 million in tax penalties amid the country’s raging economic chaos.

The largest wireless carrier in Africa, MTN, reported receiving a $773 million back-tax bill from Ghana that it intends to contest. The bill includes penalties and interest charges.

The company stated that it received a notice from the Ghanaian government alleging that it under-declared its revenue in the country by 30 percent between 2014 and 2018, thus the $773 million tax penalty.

MTN asserts in a statement released on Friday that it vehemently contests the $773 million back-tax bill, penalties, and interest charges that its subsidiary in Ghana was issued.

Expressing its disapproval of the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) bill, MTN argued that it lacks a reliable source of income.

“MTN Ghana believes that the taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment and has resolved to vigorously defend MTN Ghana’s position on the assessment,” the telecommunication company said

“MTN Ghana strongly disputes the accuracy and basis of the assessment, including the methodology used in conducting the audit,” it added.

The penalty was imposed as the nation battles a debt crisis and record inflation.

Ghana has been fighting to keep its economy strong in the face of an external debt crisis.

A loan default was declared by the Ghanaian government in 2022, and all payments for debt service on some types of external debt were suspended.

The suspension of debt payments followed a staff-level agreement between Ghana and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $3 billion bailout package to address the country’s economic problems.

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