The government is facing payment of penalty of 8395.98 euro after the state-owned telecommunication commission failed to clear installments in time for the loan it had taken from Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation for installation of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite.
Officials of the ministry of finance said that Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission became defaulted in clearing nine out of 12 installments due since March 2018 against its loan of 157.5 million euro taken from HSBC in September 2016.
The non-concessional loan committee headed by finance minister AMA Muhith provided state-guarantee to the loan nature of which is hard term with less grace period.
Finance ministry officials said the defaulted installments included the first installment plus interest of 78,28,416.68 euro cleared on October 22 instead of October 11 prompting the HSBC to impose 8395.98 euro (equivalent to Tk 796,638.85) as penalty.
BTRC acting chairman Jahurul Haque on Saturday told New Age that there were no more arrears in installments as the commission already cleared those.
He said the matter was not so serious, although the finance ministry officials said that the government had not paid any penalty and failed to service debts to any overseas agency in the past 46 years.
Commenting on the penalty imposed by the HSBC, Jahurul Haque said, ‘We are not satisfied with the service. We should not allow them to take additional money from the country.’
As per the agreement, BTRC would repay the loan in 20 installments in 12 years with the annual interest rate of 1.5 per cent in addition to agency fee, commitment fee and agency security fee.
Thales Alenia Space of France that was awarded the deal of installing the satellite handed over the ownership of it on Friday to the BTRC after it was launched by American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, SpaceX, in May 11 this year from Florida in the USA.
Meanwhile, the treasury and debts management wing of the finance division has already held two inter-ministerial meetings on October 17 and October 28 to review the payment detail of the BTRC to the bank, said the officials.
The inter-ministerial meeting in October, attended among others by additional secretary and managing director Saiful Islam of the Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited, expressed disappointment over the payment failure by BTRC.
The meeting asked the BTRC to bring the officials into book for the errors and gave feedbacks to the ministry of finance.
The meeting also asked the BTRC to be remained careful about the deadlines of payments in future and arrange the fund dully.
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