Three telcos paid Google, FB Tk 8,744cr in 5yrs

BTRC submits report to High Court

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Aug 23,2019


Three mobile phone operators — Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink — paid around Tk 8,744 crore in digital marketing bills to Google and Facebook in last five years, according to a BTRC report.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission placed the report before the High Court on Thursday.

According to the report submitted to the HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, Grameenphone, Robi  and Banglalink made payments of Tk 8,744,19,50,000 to the two internet and social media giants in the period.

The BTRC lawyer placed the report before the court as the bench on April 18, 2018 asked the authorities concerned to collect appropriate revenue from the global technology giants and internet-based service providers against digital advertisement bills and other services’ fees it received from the local companies.

Deputy attorney general Tushar Kanti Roy, who represented the state, confirmed that the BTRC report showed that the three mobile companies paid Google and Facebook Tk 8,744.19 crore in five years.

He said that a NBR report earlier submitted to the court showed that the three companies paid around Tk 133 crore.

He said that Bangladesh Bank would submit its report on the issue to the HC bench at the next hearing scheduled for October 30.

The HC earlier asked the NBR to scrutinise further the payments made by the three companies to the global giants after the revenue board had submitted its report.

Earlier in April, 2018, the HC in a ruling asked the authorities concerned why a directive should not be issued to exact the revenue from these and other internet-based service providers.

The HC in its order named secretaries of finance, law, information, and posts and telecommunications ministries, BB governor, NBR chairman, BTRC chairman and Bangladesh Newspapers Owners’ Association president as respondents along with the authorities of Google, Facebook, and YouTube.

The HC issued the rule after hearing a writ petition filed on April 9 by six lawyers against tax evasion by Google, Facebook and other internet-based platforms.

At Thursday’s hearing, the NBR also submitted a report on the issue.

But the court asked the tax authorities to submit another report on the issue by October 19 as the court could not be satisfied with the NBR report.

The court also asked the NBR to inform it about what measures it had taken to realise revenue from these internet-based entities.

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