• Says MTN operates with impunity
By Emma Okonji
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, called on MTN Nigeria to comply with the directives of the federal government and refund repatriated funds and unpaid tax arrears, totaling $10.134 billion.
President of NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, who made the call in a statement that was made available to THISDAY, said MTN Nigeria had been operating with impunity in Nigeria, in spite of the fact that 60 per cent of its global income comes from Nigeria.
According to him, the directives of the CBN and the AGF have vindicated the action of NLC, when it picketed MTN offices across the country in July this year for breaching labour laws, local content law and security issues.
Wabba accused MTN Nigeria of not only engaging in the exploitation of Nigerian workers and turning them into slaves but have extended their frontiers to unwholesome economic exploitation and sabotage, by not paying its taxes, yet it is involved in repatriating funds out of the country.
“If companies default, with what is government expected to run the country or conduct its business”, Wabba queried.
“We similarly urge the federal government to spare no effort in recovering this money as anything to the contrary will send wrong signals to other corporate organisations it had punished for lesser tax infractions.
“The need to enforce this order is all the more compelling, more so that government’s tax reforms have been skewed in favour of corporate organisations, there is no reason for a default. “Afterall, every taxable person is expected to pay their tax as when due,” Wabba said.
Citing the Thabo Mbeki Report on Illicit financial flows from Africa, Wabba insisted that it is a major crime against the government and people of Nigeria, while explaining that NLC is not surprised by the unethical conduct of MTN Nigeria.
While calling on MTN Nigeria to obey the country’s national laws by allowing unionisation, NLC urged critical government agencies such as Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Directorate of Sate Services (DSS), Immigration and Central Bank, to closely look into the operations of the telecoms company, especially in light of the Thabo Mbeki Report.
“In our candid view, government should use this opportunity to send an appropriate message to everyone especially corporate organisations who often pay taxes in the breach. Coupled with this, government’s tax reforms will only make meaning if they are judiciously and judicially executed,” the NLC boss said.