By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Chief Financial Officer of MTN Group, Mr Ralph Mupita, has disclosed that the telecommunications company really wants to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), but authorities of Africa’s largest economy were making things difficult for the company.
In 2015, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) fined the South African telecoms group the sum of $5.2 billion.
But both parties went into negotiations to reduce the fine and the firm was later asked to pay $1 billion with the condition to list its shares on the local bourse before May 2019, according to the sector’s regulator, NCC.
About two weeks ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) asked MTN Nigeria to refund the $8.1 billion it allegedly repatriated to South Africa illegally.
Moments after this demand, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) asked the telco to pay $2 billion tax allegedly incurred for about a decade.
On Monday, MTN approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop both the CBN and the AGF from forcing it to make the $10.1 billion payment.
Speaking with CNBC Africa on Wednesday, Mr Mupita said these issues MTN has with the Nigerian government were making its planned debut stock market listing in the country “pretty challenging and awkward.”
He said preparation of the company’s initial public offering prospectus was far advanced, stating that, “We are not sitting here saying the listing is off. The listing is to remain on track.”
“It makes the IPO that we had planned pretty challenging and awkward, but we have got to explore other options of continuing to meet the listing requirements,” he added.
However, Mr Mupita said MTN was committed to Nigeria and would stay in the country, adding that the company was looking forward to an amicable resolution to the matters.
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