It accused AGF Abubakar Malami, of “playing games” over the demand for the cash, which the government said was in tax arrears from the telecoms giant. Shuter spoke at a conference call where MTN’s 2018 annual results were presented to the country’s executives and stakeholders.
Malami had last September written to MTN Nigeria, demanding the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears. He broke the cash down to a 10-year period for import duties, Value Added Tax (VAT) and withholding taxes on foreign imports/payments. MTN Nigeria had rejected the allegation, insisting that it had fully settled all outstanding taxes.
The telco also sued the AGF. Reiterating the telco’s stance, Shuter described the legal process as “odd,” adding that the AGF had no right to collect tax on behalf of the Federal Government. He said MTN is a responsible firm which tax assessments are in line with the requirements of the relevant authorities.
The transcript of the conference call reads: “I think if you look at our history for complicated tax disputes they can take years because you end up going through this tribunal, that tribunal etc. “Now, of course, what’s odd about the Nigeria situation is it’s not the Commissioner for Inland Revenue that we have the dispute with.
It’s the attorney-general, who is really not mandated to collect tax. “So, the legal process is basically saying you’re playing a game that you’re not meant to be playing. And when we talk to the tax authorities they have no particular quarrel with where we are with our various assessments.
“So, either we get the thing chucked out early on and the issue is finished, or it is just one of these lingering things that roll around in the system for a while. And personally, I don’t know which way it’s going to play out. “I’m just absolutely adamant that we’re a responsible company, we have paid the taxes we had to pay, and the tax authorities themselves aren’t saying that we owe them anything. So I think we’ve just got to stare this one down.”
Also commenting on the issue, the telco’s Chief Financial Officer, Ralph Mupita, said the telco has thoroughly double-checked its books without finding any remote exposure. He said: “The audit committees of both Nigeria and (the) group, as you can well imagine, have gone through this very thoroughly in terms of all our tax exposures. And it’s the second time we’ve looked at this.
“We looked at it at the half year when it was then a tax assessment before the letters came in August. “But we still believe there isn’t even a remote exposure that we would put in contingent liabilities. But I think it’s important to re-emphasize the point Rob raised.
“In the course of having any tax disputes with the authorities these things can take years. So if this thing rolls on it’s no different from a transfer pricing matter you may have a dispute with authority in country x, y, z.” The hearing of the suit against the AGF first scheduled for November 8 last year has been adjourned to March 26.
Canadian Government Pledges $15M in Federal Music Funding
The Canadian government will allocate 20 million Canadian dollars ($14.96 million at current rates) to the Canadian Music Fund (CMF) over two years, it announced Tuesday with its 2019 federal budget.
“With the growing importance of digital media today, Canadian artists—especially musicians and music entrepreneurs (e.g., producers, agents)—now face the challenge of marketing their content internationally and across all platforms, while also putting a greater emphasis on touring and live performances,” the budget report reads.
The CA$20 million increase is intended “to address some of the challenges faced by Canadian musicians in the digital era” so that “the Fund can enhance its support for the production, promotion and distribution of Canadian music.”
The passage adds: “For musical artists, these investments will create greater opportunities to innovate and experiment on a wider range of digital and non-digital platforms. This, combined with enhanced support for promotion—including more touring and more modern marketing approaches—will ensure that Canadian music reaches more audiences at home and abroad.”
Representatives of national music associations were swift in their praise — a contrast to last year, when the federal budget failed to mention any support for the Canada Music Fund. In 2016, the government committed CA$4.2 million ($3.14 million) to the music sector over two years. Now, with this new allotment, according to the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), adds to the momentum of that 2016 investment, supporting a program that has been “underfunded and over-subscribed for the past decade.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the Federal government and specifically our dedicated advocate, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, for showing their support of our industry,” said CIMA president Stuart Johnston in a statement. “We are keen to continue to work closely with government to ensure that these dollars are invested in the most impactful way, such as providing additional support for sound recording, international export opportunities, promotion, marketing, touring and showcasing, and the domestic development of our great artists.”
The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) called the announcement “good news” in its press release, noting other increases to the arts in the budget, such as CA$16 million ($11.97 million) over two years to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) and $CA24 million ($17.96 million) over two years to the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program and the Celebration and Commemoration Program.
The CAPF program, according to the CLMA, “may positively impact” many of the association’s not-for-profit members. “Thanks to the program, our members ensure ‘homegrown talent’ can be discovered, in our own backyards. Export strategies rely on that career growth that comes from domestic touring and local audience development. The touring landscape in Canada is, among many things, an important breeding ground for the creation (and ultimately, global dissemination) of Canadian content,” said CLMA president and CEO Erin Benjamin.
With these new funding commitments, the total support to the Canadian music industry by the Government of Canada is CA$40.7 million ($30.44 million).
“Music Canada welcomes the Government of Canada’s increased funding to the Canada Music Fund and Canada Arts Presentation Fund as part of today’s budget announcement, but there remains much work to be done to address the Value Gap hurting the music sector,” said Graham Henderson, president and CEO of Music Canada, in a statement. “For labels and artists to be competitive and financially successful, they need a sustainable business framework.”
He continued, “Recently the United States and the European Union have taken steps to address the Value Gap. Canada has an opportunity to join the community of nations in protecting and fostering the careers of creators. During the Copyright Act review, the creative community was virtually unanimous in urging the government to repeal decades-old subsidies through which individual creators enrich billion dollar technology and broadcasting platforms. We sincerely look forward to working with the government to seize this opportunity while concluding the review of the Copyright Act.”
More Than 70 Passengers Dead In Tamale-Kintampo Accident This Dawn
More than 70 passengers on board two buses that collided head-on in the early hours of Friday, March 22, 2019, on the Tamale-Kintampo Highway have died instantly, we can confirm.
The accident occurred at Amoma Nkwanta, a village near Kintampo in the Kintampo North Municipality of the Bono East Region, along the main Kintampo-Tamale Highway.
It is has been confirmed that a VVIP Kia bus with registration number GT 3915- 17 from Garu in the Upper East Region heading towards Kumasi collided with a Grandbird bus with registration number GT 5694-18 from Accra which was heading towards Bolgantaga also in the Upper East Region.
It is unclear what might have caused the collision but it is speculated that one of the drivers might have been dozing off and run into the lane of the other from the opposite direction.
All passengers, including that onboard one of the buses which was en route from Garu and bound for Kumasi, have been burnt beyond recognition when the vehicle went up in flames soon after the crash
The other bus branded VVIP and painted red, veered into a ditch after the collision, killing dozens on board.
Passengers Life At Risk As Unhealthy “Trotro” Cars Hits Osu, Mamobi, Nima Etc Roads
The life of a traveler is always in the hands of a driver even though God is the ultimate controller. The probability of getting stuck on the road when joining some passenger (trotro) Ghana Accra is high due to the state of the vehicles.
Research conducted by our source shows that vehicles used by some drivers are not healthy enough to be on the road but how did they get clearance from GPRTU? A trip to Osu, Mamobi, Nima and few to mention were notable places in the capital where these vehicles are seen as normal vehicles to be used in conveying passengers.
Our first encounter started from the Madina to Nungua station where a driver has to join 2 cables before sparking his car. This got our reporter wondering why should it be so? Prior to this, an incident happened on Circle- Botwe (UPSA curve) road where due to illegal connection, the front headlight stopped working and all of a sudden smokes filled the car in less than 1 minute. Our reporter who happened to sit in front that evening has to jump through the window to save his own life. The unapologetic conductor and his driver always seem to be comfortable and shout back at passengers wherever these claims are made.
The GPRTU which is a general union looking after these issues seems to be unconcerned with these claims. The leaders are not ready and will not entertain any question on these issues. Interesting, the police are also not too concerned about this.
Our second encounter was fun even though it was risky. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the road almost 5 times before we reached our destination (Mamobi). Furious passengers got down and joined different cars as we the strong hearted continued the journey until we finally arrived at the lorry park. Upon arrival, we went straight to the station masters office only to be told he is not around. Caretaker upon seeing our facial looks hinted his boss that there was a fire in the mountain. We waited till we could see we are tired. Any attempt to trap him was not working as he was directed not to answer any question.
Over the past few years, statistics show that accident rates are always increasing instead of finding measures to help decrease it. In 2017,2,527 accidents were recorded while it increased to 2,970 in 2018 signifying a 17% increase. I urge the government to prompt these unions and security services to take the challenge and stop some vehicles from operating as a commercial transport. Let’s join hands in doing this as citizens but not because of our stomach.
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