By Emma Okonji
In a bid to empower more Nigerians within its operational workforce, MTN Nigeria has reduced the number of its expatriates working in Nigeria from over 300 in 2002, to eight in 2016, which represents about 85 per cent slash.
The reason for the downsizing of its expatriate staff, according to the firm, was to empower more Nigerians and encourage Nigeria, where its bulk revenue is generated from among other African countries where MTN operates.
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdinard Moolman, made the disclosure recently while stating the position of MTN in the alleged repatriation of $13.9 billion out of Nigeria without authorisation, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions in Abuja.
He said MTN would continue to empower its Nigerian workforce and that over 90 per cent of the current executive management staff of MTN Nigeria, are Nigerians.
Moolman said till date, MTN has employed over 500,000 Nigerians directly and indirectly in the MTN services and distribution chain.
Speaking on MTN’s investments in Nigeria, Moolman said the telecoms company has contributed over N1.8 trillion to the Nigeria government, by ways of taxes, levies and sundry regulation payments, since it commenced operations in Nigeria in 2001.
Part of the N1.6 trillion investment details, show that MTN has paid duties on equipment of over N87 billion; duties on stock of over N12 billion; VAT on revenue of over N299 billion; VAT on operating expenses of over N48 billion; employee tax of over N31 billion; company income tax of over N486 billion, among other taxes and investments, totaling over N1.6 trillion, since it commenced operations in Nigeria in 2001.
Aside the N1.6 trillion investments, Moolman said MTN also invested over N18 billion in MTN Foundation in executing corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects across 771 local governments in the country, in the areas of education, health and economic empowerment in the six geo-political zones of the country, and that over N10 billion has been invested to date to support SIM card registration exercise in the country, thus helping to build a national identity database for Nigeria.
According to Mooman, MTN Nigeria has been privileged and honoured to contribute to the development of ICT in Nigeria since 2001 when the right enabling environment was created by the Nigerian government to attract investment into the ICT industry. MTN Nigeria is proud to have been given the opportunity to play a catalytic and leading role in this important sector.
“Globally, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) are motivated by the opportunities and enabling environment which the host country provides. MTN’s success was indeed a catalyst for many other international companies to invest in Nigeria,” Moolman added.
“In more simple terms, since we launched in 2001, we have created direct and indirect employment opportunities to more than 500,000 Nigerians. We have also contributed more than N1.8 trillion towards government in the form of license fees, taxes, levies, right of way, among others,” he said.
Commenting specifically on the point of Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) in the matter of alleged repatriation of funds out of Nigeria, Moolman said that no dividends were declared or paid until the CCIs were issued and finalised.
Moolman added that MTN Nigeria only requested for CCIs for Foreign Capital that was imported into Nigeria, and dividends were externalised on CCIs.
“Often for various reasons (such as not having all the required documentation for instance), it is not possible to issue a CCI within 24 hours, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Forex Manual contemplates such situations by asking that the banks refer to the CBN for approval. Besides, the requirement to issue a CCI within 24 hours of conversion is an administrative requirement. As such, the CBN has the authority, and indeed we believe, approved the banks’ applications to issue CCIs outside the recommended time frame,” Moolman said.