Niger’s government ordered Orange Group to close all of its offices in the country as authorities and the operator escalated a row over a XOF22 billion ($38 million) tax claim, Reuters reported.
The operator disputes both the claim itself and the size of the back tax bill, noting it represented almost half of its turnover in the country. In a statement to the news publication, Orange said forcing it to close offices was a brutal and disproportionate move.
In a statement to African Daily Voice, Orange warned the “continuity of the company” was at stake, noting there were 52,000 jobs in the country indirectly related to the company’s activities. The company added its core operations, including mobile and financial services, and other societal schemes contribute almost 3 per cent of the country’s GDP.
Orange is the third-largest player in the market by connections, with 2.3 million active mobile customers and market share of around 24 per cent, GSMA Intelligence estimates for Q3 2018 showed.
News of its issues in Niger came hours after the company held an event in London where it reaffirmed its commitment to Africa and plans to expand the scope of its Orange Money service across its footprint.
In addition to services to stimulate financial inclusion, the company also offers solar power services across several of its markets on the continent – an initiative it plans to export across the region.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back