Osun Govt Shuts Down MTN Base Stations Over N500m Tax Debt

By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo

Numerous customers of the largest telecommunications organisation in the country, MTN, may witness network outage as the Osun State Government has shut down some of the company’s base stations in the state for failing to pay outstanding taxes, fees and charges.

The State Government of Osun shut down some of the MTN base stations within its jurisdiction as a result of the company’s failure to pay outstanding  taxes and fees among other charges.

The unpaid taxes, fees and charges according to the state government, are in respect of base stations, and right of way for laying fibre optics due to the state government since last year.

The Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Osun State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Dayo Oyebanji, who disclosed this on Tuesday, 27th May, 2014 while briefing journalists in Osogbo, capital of the state, said the shutting down of MTN base stations came as a last resort was after the firm took all necessary steps in terms of consultation and persuasion to get MTN to pay its debt.

Oyebanji said the meeting held with the representatives of the MTN Company led by Mr. Emmanuel Uganden was concluded with a unanimous decision that the outstanding debt should be paid latest by the close of business on Friday,16th May, 2014, having reached a compromise with the company to pay N279.609 million for the right of way instead of N399 million owed by the company; and N135.668 million for base stations.

According to Oyebanji, a top manager of MTN, Mr. Emmanuel Seton had intervened when the base stations of the communication outfit were on 7th April, 2014 distrained by the officials of Osun State Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before they (base stations) were later released two days after.

The revenue service boss said that the failure of MTN Company to clear its outstanding bills despite various persuasion called for the shut down of its base stations.

He further stated that the ongoing exercise will not be limited to MTN company alone, but also would be extended to other telecommunications companies, banks and other recalcitrant tax debtors found guilty of owing the state government.

Recalled that the state government had threatened to shut down MTN’s base stations if it failed to pay its taxes and fees but the telecommunication outfit was adamant.

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