AUDIT CLAIM NON-PAYMENT

BTRC moves to partially stall NOC issuance to GP, Robi

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:00, May 20,2019

 
 

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has taken steps to stop partially issuing no-objection certificates to Grameenphone and Robi in connection with the operators’ non-payment of audit claims of the telecom regulator, said BTRC officials.
BTRC officials told New Age that the commission for now refrained from issuing NOCs only for issues related to engineering and operation.
Under the move, BTRC has already started the process of stalling NOCs for network transmission expansion by GP and Robi, equipment imports and financing clearances, they said.
BTRC officials said that the commission refrained from issuing any NOC to Robi since May 12 for Robi’s non-payment of audit claim.
They said that similar move was also taken against GP in last few days.
Unless the mobile phone operators start paying audit claims, the commission would take tougher measures in the coming days, they said.
A GP official, however, said that they had no knowledge about any BTRC move regarding NOC suspension as the commission had not informed them about such move.
Robi officials said that the operator was facing difficulty in keeping their network smoothly functional at several areas due to non-issuance of NOCs by the commission.
If the telecom regulator refrains from issuing NOCs, setting up towers in the areas would not be possible for the operator and the network issues could not be addressed there, they said.
Another official of the commission also told New Age that the commission might stop issuing all kind of NOCs to GP and Robi formally.
On April 2 this year, BTRC asked Grameenphone to pay Tk 12,579.95 crore in audit claim in 10 days.
The claim amount includes GP’s dues of Tk 8,494.01 crore to the regulator and Tk 4,085.94 crore to National Board of Revenue for the period of 1996-2017.
The mobile phone operator, however, challenged the claim and refrained from paying the money.
On April 29, BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque said that the commission would take tough measures against Grameenphone if the operator did not pay its dues to the government.
GP would get every facility it deserves, said Jahurul adding, ‘If the operator refrains from paying even after that, the commission would stop issuing NOCs, block calls and issue show-cause notices for violation of licensing conditions,’ he said.
On April 30, the commission at a meeting decided to impose on GP three conditions including hike in tariff price for its subscribers under the significant market power regulations.
Mobile operator Robi, however, filed a petition with High Court challenging legality of the Tk 867 crore audit claim made by BTRC in July, 2018.
The outstanding amount to be paid by Robi includes Tk 197.21 crore in late fees.
As per the audit findings, Robi owes Tk 677.76 crore to BTRC and the rest Tk 189.47 crore to NBR.

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