Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has issued a seven-day ultimatum to mobile operator Robi for paying Tk 18.93 crore in value-added tax on 4G licence acquisition and tech-neutrality fees to avoid non-cooperation from the telecom regulator along with legal action.
In a letter to the Robi chief executive officer Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, BTRC on April 18 asked the operator to pay the amount by April 25 (Wednesday).
In case of failure, BTRC will stop issuing approval for all types of tariffs and no objection certificate along with taking other legal steps, the letter said.
BTRC made the decision after the Large Taxpayers Unit (VAT) of National Board of Revenue demanded the VAT amount from the telecom regulator.
Grameenphone and Banglalink on March 19 paid Tk 152 crore in VAT at the rate of 5 per cent on fees for 4G licence.
Robi did not pay their VAT amount at the rate of 5 per cent on the total fees worth Tk 378.63 crore.
Officials of the revenue board said that BTRC was supposed to deduct the VAT on the fees and deposit to the government exchequer before making the 4G service effective as per NBR’s general order which lowered the VAT rate from standard 15 per cent.
LTU on March 21 issued the final demand notice to the BTRC for depositing the VAT immediately to the BTRC warns
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government exchequer, they said.
BTRC in the letter said that non-payment of the VAT as per the NBR’s general order was the violation of the conditions of the 4G/LTE licence and guidelines which was not morally or legally acceptable.
There were no legal scopes of taking technology neutrality benefits and obtaining 4G licence and providing services without paying the VAT, it said.
Telecom regulator on February 19 handed over 4G/LTE licences to mobile phone operators which started offering the faster internet services on the same day.
In this context, the BTRC at its commission meeting decided to send the letter giving 7 days for payment of the VAT, the letter said.
Officials of Robi told New Age that they would reply to the letter soon.
The operator has already sought instruction from the LTU whether it would pay the VAT to BTRC or not, they said.
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