MultiChoice Nigeria finds middle ground with tax authorities
Pay television platform MultiChoice has opened up its banking accounts for audit by the Nigerian Federal and Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as part of an “amicable” settlement of tax dispute that has continued to weigh down on the company’s operations in the West African country.
In July 2021 FIRS claimed that MultiChoice Nigeria had defaulted on tax payments equivalent to US$4-billion. It also accused the company of providing incorrect information to FIRS related to its income and subscriber numbers and said MultiChoice “lacked data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access” to their records.”
This week, in a JSE sens announcement, MultiChoice stated that it has agreed to resolve the tax disputes and said:“MultiChoice Nigeria and FIRS have agreed to an amicable resolution of the pending tax matters which led to a series of lawsuits” - including that filed against the Nigerian tax authority.
FIRS resumed a Forensic Systems Audit of MultiChoice accounts this week to determine the company’s liability.
MultiChoice explained: “With the agreement and the resumption of the Forensic Systems Audit, it is anticipated that the matters will be resolved expeditiously and shareholders will be kept informed of progress in this regard.”
Nigeria is a key market for the pay TV firm given the size of its population and growing middle class.
While MultiChoice has established a formidable position in Africa, there is increased competition from online streaming services like Netflix.
In 2020, 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, Multichoice has over 8.7 million subscribers.