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Nigeria Moves to Settle $10.1b Dispute with MTN as Shares Tumble

By Dipo Olowookere

Efforts are currently being made by the Nigerian authorities to amicably resolve issues with leading telecommunication firm in Africa, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

Few days ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) asked MTN to refund $8.1 billion it allegedly repatriated illegally from the country to South Africa.

The same company was also told to pay $2 billion as tax default by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakr Malami.

On Monday, MTN Nigeria approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, seeking to stop the Nigerian government from collecting the $10.1 billion.

Speaking in an interview in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday, head of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Umar Danbatta, confirmed that the issue would be resolved.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission is doing what it can to facilitate amicable resolution of MTN’s standoff with the tax and finance regulators,” Bloomberg quoted Mr Danbatta as saying in the interview.

MTN’s share price has plunged by more than a third since the crisis erupted late last month and traded 3.3 percent lower at 71.66 rand as of 3:50pm in Johannesburg.

The dispute comes just over two years after the Johannesburg-based company settled a separate, $1 billion fine for not disconnecting unregistered subscribers on its network.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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