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MultiChoice refutes claims as it looks to avoid Nigeria crisis

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Nigeria , 09 Jul 2021

MultiChoice is scrambling to avoid a potential financial crisis as a result of a directive issued by Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to banks to freeze accounts of the pay television operation pending the collection of outstanding fiscal payments.

On Thursday 8 July FIRS claimed that MuliChoice Nigeria had defaulted on tax payments to the amount of 1.8-trillion Naira (over US$4-billion).

The company is also accused of providing incorrect information to FIRS related to its income and subscriber numbers.

In a statement the Authority said companies operated by MultiChoice in Nigeria (DStv) “would not promptly respond to correspondences, they lacked data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access” to their records.

“The companies are involved in the under-remittance of taxes which necessitated a critical review of the tax-compliance level of the company,” further reads the statement from the revenue authority.

This means that MultiChoice Nigeria will not be able to access or make payments from some of its key bank accounts within the country.

The company said that it is engaging the tax authority and has insisted it is up to date with its tax payments.

“We have been- and are currently in discussion with FIRS regarding their concerns and believe that we will be able to resolve the matter amicably,” read a statement issued by MultiChoice Nigeria.

It also claimed that it had not yet been notified of the position taken by the FIRS.

Nigeria is a key market for MultiChoice owing to Africa’s biggest economy’s booming population and growing middle class.

In November last year, MultiChoice said it had a subscriber base of 11.4m households (57%) “in the Rest of Africa” segment, which includes Nigeria, although it did not reveal the numbers for the West African country.

In South Africa, it has 8.7 million users for its pay television service.

MultiChoice becomes the third major tech company to attract the wrath of Nigerian authorities with Twitter still suspended and MTN Nigeria being heavily fined for failure to disconnect unregistered SIM cards. 

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