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Nigeria May Lose Tax Debt If Multichoice Is Sold

A member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Saidu Abdullahi has revealed that there are ongoing arrangements to sell Multichoice Group and its subsidiaries to a foreign buyer. However, there is a concern as the company has unresolved tax debts and this calls for urgent actions for MultiChoice to recover the outstanding taxes.

In Abdullahi’s words, “There are ongoing arrangements to sell Multichoice Nigeria and Multichoice Group subsidiaries in Nigeria to a foreign interest, while tax indebtedness is outstanding. If urgent actions are not taken to recover the tax revenues from the Multichoice Group, Nigeria may lose huge revenue that can inject life into the economy.”

As concerns continue to grow over ongoing arrangements to sell the company and its subsidiaries to Canal Plus, the House of Representatives has therefore cautioned potential buyers to be aware of the alleged outstanding tax indebtedness that may have been concealed in their papers. Multichoice Nigeria’s spokesperson, Caroline Oghuma, declined immediate comment, leaving the situation with an air of uncertainty.

Moving forward, the House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Finance to investigate severe allegations of tax non-remittance against the South African entertainment giant. The resolution follows the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to investigate the alleged unremitted N1.8tn and $342m tax revenues owed the Federation by Multichoice Group.’


During the debate on the motion, sponsor Saidu Abdullahi emphasized the House’s constitutional authority to probe the company, citing Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Abdullahi revealed that the media giant, a prominent multinational corporation operating in Nigeria, is accused of suppressing vital tax information discovered from their submissions in their home country.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in a significant move in 2021, engaged a consultant under a whistleblowing contract to audit the tax obligations of Multichoice Group and its Nigerian subsidiary. This audit, spanning from 2011 to 2020, revealed the tax indebtedness of over N1.8tn and $342m for both entities.

Speaking on this, Abdullahi highlighted past attempts by FIRS to recover unpaid taxes through legal means, including court proceedings and a subsequent out-of-court resolution, which failed to yield the desired results. The House, observing the situation, explained the potential loss of substantial revenue to the tune of N1.8tn and $342m if urgent actions are not taken to recover the tax revenues from the Group.

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Furthermore, the House stressed the necessity to investigate the allegations and safeguard the interests of Nigerians. Consequently, the Committee on Finance is mandated to investigate the non-remittance of tax revenues by the company, focusing on the suppression of information discovered from their submissions in their home country. The committee is expected to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Potential fallout for subscribers as Multichoice faces tax probes
As the House of Representatives launches an investigation into Multichoice Group’s alleged non-remittance of substantial taxes, subscribers and the wider public may face potential repercussions.

Multichoice, a key player in the Nigerian entertainment sector, provides television services to millions of subscribers. The unfolding tax probe could have direct implications on the company’s financial stability, raising concerns about the continuity and quality of services provided to its subscribers.

If the media company encounters financial challenges resulting from the tax investigation, there may be a ripple effect on subscription fees and the availability of diverse programming. Subscribers could experience changes in their viewing options, including possible alterations to existing channels or the introduction of new subscription plans to offset financial pressures.

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Moreover, the uncertainty surrounding the company’s future, coupled with the alleged outstanding tax debts, might influence potential investors and business partners. This could impact the company’s ability to secure new content deals and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

For the wider public, Multichoice’s situation could also have economic implications. The potential loss of revenue for the Nigerian government, if the tax debts remain unrecovered, might affect public services and government initiatives that rely on tax income.

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