MTN says Nigeria has withdrawn $2 billion tax demand

A worker walks past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

The attorney general of the federation MTN says has withdrawn a $2 billion tax demand against South African telecoms giant MTN Group.

In a letter filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, MTN said the government had decided to drop its case and refer the issue to tax and customs authorities “with a view to resolving contentious issues”.

“We are very pleased with the decision of the (attorney general) and we commend him for his wisdom,” MTN Nigeria’s Chief Executive Ferdi Moolman said in a statement.

The Johannesburg-listed shares of MTN Group rose more than 5% higher after the announcement. Nigeria is its biggest market, with roughly 60 million users.

The company, whose local unit listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange last year, said at the time that it would sell more shares to the public and increase local ownership once the tax row was resolved.

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