NLC urges MTN to pay $10b fine
Flays firm over alleged abuse of workers’ rights
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has urged telecommunication giant, MTN to pay the $2 billion tax arrears and another $8.13billion that was allegedly repatriated to South Africa in connivance with four banks.
Speaking in Abuja, the President of the Congress, Ayuba Wabba, also urged the Federal Government to spare no effort in recovering the money, saying anything to the contrary will send wrong signals to other corporate organisations it had punished for lesser tax infractions.He argued that the need to enforce the payment of the fine is all the more compelling when it is realised that workers pay taxes they can ill-afford but religiously pay all the same.
He added: “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. After all, every taxable person is expected to pay his or her tax as when due.“If companies default, with what is government expected to run the country or conduct its business?”
Wabba submitted that it is the view of Congress that the incident does not just directly testy to the Thabo Mbeki Report on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, but a major crime against the government and people of Nigeria. On its part, Wabba said Congress was not surprised by the unethical conduct of MTN, adding, “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?”It added that in its Tax Justice Campaign, Congress relentlessly and assiduously draw the attention of government and the entire citizenry to the humongous crime against the vulnerable people of Africa, especially Nigeria, over 70 million of whom are said to be the poorest in the world.
It declared that government should use the MTN experience as an opportunity to send an appropriate message to everyone especially corporate organisations that often pay taxes in the breach.
It further argued that government’s tax reforms will only make meaning if they are judiciously and judicially executed.The national umbrella body of Nigerian workers maintained that it feels 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,” Wabba stated.
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