MTN gets $773 million Ghana tax bill it 'strongly disputes'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
MTN Group and MTN Ghana will continue to engage with the relevant authorities on this matter.
MTN Group and MTN Ghana will continue to engage with the relevant authorities on this matter.
News24 Business
  • MTN says it has received a $773 million back-tax bill in Ghana.
  • It plans to fight to fight the matter.
  • MTN is Africa's largest wireless carrier.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

MTN, Africa's largest wireless carrier, said it's received a $773 million back-tax bill, including penalties and interest charges, in Ghana that it plans to fight. The bill is for the period between 2014 and 2018 and implies that MTN under-declared its revenue in the country by 30%, the company said in a statement on Friday. MTN said it received the notice this week. 

"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 company said.  

Africa's largest wireless carriers are increasingly caught up in tax disputes on the continent. MTN was victorious in a conflict in Nigeria in 2020 when the government had to drop a $2 billion claim for back taxes following a 16-month battle. More recently, Vodacom has been embroiled in a controversial tax demand in the Congo that saw the government seal parts of its offices and freeze its bank accounts.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) used a third-party consultant as well as a new methodology, the company said. "MTN Ghana strongly disputes the accuracy and basis of the assessment, including the methodology used in conducting the audit," the company said.

Florence Asante, a spokesperson for the GRA, said she couldn't immediately comment when reached by phone.

Ghana, which lost access to the international capital markets due to its ballooning debt and loan service costs, suspended interest payments on its external debt last month. The nation is trying to restructure its obligations to finalise a $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. 

MTN said in the statement that the GRA had begun an audit of its Ghanaian business in 2019 to look into the "reliability and completeness" of the revenue it declared during the five-year period. The GRA hadn't issued the unit with any guidelines or standards relating to its new audit methodology, MTN said. 

"MTN Group and MTN Ghana will continue to engage with the relevant authorities on this matter and MTN remains resolute that MTN Ghana is a tax compliant corporate citizen," the company said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders