MTN to spend $1bn on 5G in Ghana after end of tax dispute

MTN to spend $1bn on 5G in Ghana after end of tax dispute

Ralph Mupita MTN.jpg

MTN is to spend the equivalent of US$1 billion on expanding operations in Ghana over the next five years.

The news, announced by group chairman and CEO Ralph Mupita (pictured), comes just two weeks after the end of a dispute over tax with the Ghanaian authorities.

Mupita said: “To be sure, macroeconomic conditions are very difficult in the near term. That said, we are focused on the medium to long term and we are seeing growth.”

Most of the money will be spent on rolling out and expanding 5G mobile technology in the country, said Mupita. The company’s 4G network covers 99.3% of the population, but cannot sustain the expected growth.

MTN was facing a tax demand for $665 million from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), a level the South African telecoms company said in January it “strongly disputes”.

But two weeks ago MTN announced via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange that it had settled the dispute with the GRA. It said: “Shareholders are advised that following extensive and productive discussions held during this 21-day period between MTN Ghana, MTN and relevant authorities in Ghana, the GRA has on 3 February 2023 fully withdrawn the assessment.”

The GRA was claiming that MTN had under-declared its revenue for 2014-18. MTN said: “MTN Ghana believes that the taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment and has resolved to vigorously defend MTN Ghana’s position on the assessment.”

Mupita said this week that 5G will spur faster growth across all sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

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