The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has asked MTN Nigeria to pay the revised N50, 000,000 (Fifty million Naira) Social Services Contribution Levy (SSCL) to the state revenue agency for the sake of what it considers national interest.
The Chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo stated this in a press statement Lagos, urging MTN to seek redress in court afterward. “In a bid to resolve the current impasse between MTN and the Kogi State Government over disputed taxes, it would nice for both parties to prioritize the national interest and always explore dialogue or seek legal resolution of contentious matters,” he said.
The national interest, according to Adebayo is the security and socio-political stability of the country. “We would like to remind all stakeholders that telecommunications facilities play very important roles in security and the economy, hence their classification as, Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
“As the general elections approach, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will rely on telecommunications facilities of all GSM Operators to transmit election results across the country for collation. The nation cannot afford to have running disputes between telecommunications operators and state governments.
“ALTON is glad that MTN and other operators are up to date on all other undisputed taxes and levies due to State Governments. We therefore advise our members to continue to remain law abiding as they have been.”
“We commend the Kogi State Government for agreeing to hold further dialogue in a bid to resolve this issue. We humbly advise State Governments across the country to work closely with telecommunications operators and build strong partnerships for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders,” the statement reads in parts.
Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGIRS) sealed MTN sites in the state capital and other locations on Tuesday last week over claims that MTN has refused to pay the N120,000,000 Social Services Contribution Levy (SSCL) due to the state in 2017 and 2018. The state government had further reviewed the total figure down to N50million during the course of discussions with MTN.
MTN on the other hand has repeatedly claimed that the levy was illegal because it was arbitrarily fixed by the State Government even though the powers to determine such rates reside with the Hon. Minister of Finance, as contained in the Taxes and Levies Act.