Following the apparent resolution of its tax dispute with the Ghanaian government, MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile network operator, has now said it plans to invest US$1 billion in Ghana over the next five years.
MTN made the statement on Wednesday, hard on the heels of the Ghanaian government dropping accusations that the company had avoided tax payments for a number of years. The tax claim was initially issued after the revenue authority audited the company for the years 2014 to 2018 and claimed that MTN had underdeclared its revenue by about 30% during the period.
MTN was, predictably, unhappy. It said at the time: "MTN Ghana believes that the taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment and has resolved to defend MTN Ghana's position on the Assessment".
However, it wasn’t alone. In late January, South Africa's foreign minister Naledi Pandor called on MTN Group and the Ghana Revenue Authority to find a solution to the multi-million dollar tax dispute. The Ghanaian government eventually exempted the MTN Ghana from tax claims worth about US$773 million.
Quoted by Reuters, MTN Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita said the company was committed to investing in Ghana despite what were described as short-term headwinds. "To be sure, macro-economic conditions are very challenging in the near term. That said, we are focused on the medium and long term, and we are seeing growth,” he said.
The investment will mainly go into 5G technology, which MTN believes could spur faster growth across a number of sectors.