Russian mobile giants VimpelCom and MegaFon are reportedly considering withdrawing from the Tajikistan mobile sector over concerns at the country’s erratic taxation system, which has badly impacted on the companies’ profitability in recent years. According to Vedomosti, which cites information from the local Sputnik news agency, a 2016 audit by the Tajikistan government has asserted that the Russian-owned cellcos owe taxes of TJS155.0 million (USD19.6 million – MegaFon) and TJS151.3 million (VimpelCom), respectively. The two companies have asked the Russian government to intercede on their behalf, the report adds, and are considering all options.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month Swedish telecoms group Telia Company confirmed that the sale of its 60%-owned Tajikistan mobile operator Tcell – agreed in September 2016 – had been delayed due to an ‘illegal tax claim’ relating to ‘unrealised revenue’. The stake is in the process of being sold to minority shareholder, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). This week’s Vedomosti report claims that Tcell has been charged the same TJS155.0 million tax fee as MegaFon.