A Nigerian tax tribunal ordered the local unit of South Africa’s pay-TV company MultiChoice to pay 50 percent of a disputed 1.8 trillion naira (R67 billion) tax bill relating to previous years, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Firs) said yesterday.
The deposit of 50 percent of the sum was a condition that had to be fulfilled by MultiChoice Nigeria before the tribunal could hear a full appeal on the matter, the Firs said.
MultiChoice Nigeria, a division of a South African group, provides DStv, a cable TV product that is popular in Nigeria.
The statement came after the Firs said in July it had instructed banks to freeze the accounts of MultiChoice because the company had refused to grant access for the tax auditors to its servers.
FIRS chairperson Muhammad Nami said at the time that banks would have to recover the 1.8 trillion naira, which the tax service said it was owed.
The tax tribunal adjourned the case until September 23, subject to the company complying with its order, Firs said.
MultiChoice is the latest South African group with a significant presence in Nigeria to face a multibillion-dollar tax demand from the West African country.
In January 2020, Nigeria’s attorney general withdrew a $2bn tax bill it had sought to impose on the mobile telecoms group MTN, after a long saga that investors said had damaged Nigeria’s reputation as an investment destination.