BTRC asks ETV to clear Tk 146cr in dues

Warns spectrum cancellation

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:05, Mar 24,2018 | Updated: 22:52, Mar 23,2018


Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has asked Ekushey Television Limited to clear within ten days dues worth Tk 145.91 crore that has been remaining outstanding for long.
The telecom regulator issued a letter in this regard to ETV chairman Mohammed Saiful Alam on March 15, 2018.
The BTRC letter issued by its senior assistant director Md Mirazul Islam said that the dues accumulated for non-payment of ETV’s Tk 17.60 crore spectrum fee for the year 2002.
Earlier in 2007, the private TV channel filed a write petition with the High Court in this regard.
The court, however, on March 22, 2016, vacated the petition giving BTRC the authority to collect the dues, a senior official of the commission said.
The BTRC based on the court order, which was published on March 13 last year, issued a letter to ETV on November 18 last year asking the entity to pay the dues including late fee and value added tax on the late fee within 10 days.
As per the calculation of the telecom regulator, ETV will have to pay Tk 125.66 crore interest on the spectrum fee at a compound rate of 15 per cent along with another Tk 2.64 crore VAT on the late fee at the rate of 15 per cent.
As ETV refrained from paying the dues, the commission issued another letter to the channel.
Although the commission issued the letter to the television channel, the entity refrained from giving any reply and even did not communicate with the commission, the BTRC official said.
The latest BTRC letter also warned ETV that the commission would take measures including cancellation of spectrum if ETV refrained from paying the dues.
On the other hand, the commission earlier waived ETV’s Tk 15.01 crore spectrum fee for the year 2007 as there was no scope to use the spectrum.
The commission has been facing audit objections due to the long outstanding dues of the satellite television channel, another official of the commission said.
Saiful Alam, also the chairman of S Alam Group, denied making any comment in this connection.
The telecom regulator have so far provided spectrum for 36 satellite television channels after the entities got approval from the government, the annual report of BTRC showed.
The ownership of the country’s first private TV station changed in 2015 when S Alam group took over its ownership. 

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