NLC Press Statement : We Have Been Vindicated

Keywords : Declarations Nigeria

We at the Nigeria Labour Congress hereby urge MTN Nigeria to comply without further delay the directive of the Federal Government to it to pay $2 billion in tax arrears as well as the $8.13 billion it was said to have illegally repatriated to South Africa over which four indigenous banks have been fined.

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 when it is realised that workers pay taxes they can ill-afford but religiously pay all the same.

It is also worth noting 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.

If companies default, with what is government expected to run the country or conduct its business?

In our view, this incident does not just directly testy to the Thabo Mbeki Report on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, it is a major crime against the government and people of Nigeria. On our part, we are not surprised by the unethical conduct of MTN. They are not only engaged in the exploitation of Nigerian workers and turning them into slaves but have extended their frontiers to unwholesome economic exploitation and sabotage.

The questions on every ones lips are: How many times has MTN done this? How many other companies are doing this?

In our Tax Justice Campaign, we relentlessly and assiduously drew the attention of government and the entire citizenry to this humongous crime against the vulnerable people of Africa, especially Nigeria, over 70 million of whom are said to be the poorest in the world.

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.

Finally, we feel vindicated by the latest discovery. While offering an explanation for picketing MTN offices across the country in July this year we highlighted labour laws, local content law and security breaches by MTN which led to fatalities of our security personnel in the North Easy conflict area.

We exposed other acts of impunity by MTN in spite of the fact that 60 % of its global income comes from Nigeria.

Coupled with demanding MTN obey our national laws by allowing unionisation, we urged critical government agencies such as NCC, EFCC, DSS, Immigration and Central Bank to closely look into the operations of the company, especially in light of the Thabo Mbeki Report.

We are vindicated.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni


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