R31bn tax bill for MTN Group

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MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter.
MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter.

Africa’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers MTN pumped R26 billion into its networks and systems in 2019, while the company’s tax obligations hit R31 billion.

MTN Group today published its integrated sustainability and tax reports for the year ended 31 December 2019.

It says these reports illustrate the significant economic and social impact the company has delivered through the group to the markets it operates in across Africa and the Middle East.

“Our 2019 integrated report highlights the progress we have made against our strategy and the value created by developing and distributing a range of innovative and reliable communication products and services,” says the operator.

“We also share our intention to harness the pioneering spirit MTN has built over the last 25 years to accelerate the implementation of our strategy in a more agile way in close collaboration with our many partners, with whom we are #GoodTogether.”

The company says the infrastructure it builds supports the development of the technology which boosts local economies.

MTN invested R26 billion in its networks and systems in 2019, says the company.

“MTN is also among the largest taxpayers in many of our markets and MTN’s tax contributions for the year under review amounted to R31 billion, up from R24 billion in 2018.”

According to MTN, tax contributions include corporate taxes, indirect taxes, withholding taxes, payroll taxes, operating licence fees and other payments to government authorities.

It explains this stemmed from contributions made in SA of R4.6 billion; Nigeria of R6.7 billion; Southern, East Africa and Ghana of R9.3 billion; West and Central Africa region of R6.7 billion; and Middle East and North Africa of R3.2 billion.

“Our 2018 tax report was selected from the tax reports of the top 100 JSE-listed companies,” says the company.

“An independent panel of judges reviewed the tax reports and MTN was awarded first place for the PwC Building Public Trust Award among South African-based multinational companies. This award is given for excellence in tax reporting,” it adds.

“To make an impact on meeting the UN SDGs by 2030, we need to deepen our focus, acting collectively and decisively. Having often reflected on this objective, I believe we can achieve this if we come together through our connected and shared humanity to collaborate effectively through partnerships,” says MTN president and group CEO Rob Shuter.

“What we are most proud of are the partnerships we have made and the impact they have had. Three in particular come to mind: Rapid rural roll-out programme (R3) with our various partners, in 2019 we saw over 1 300 sites reaching 6.9 million people; Internet Watch Foundation partnership to make children safer online, we successfully blocked two million URLs containing child sexual abuse material; and signing up to the GSMA-led industry-wide plan to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.”

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