GP should follow Robi, clear audit claim of regulator: minister

Digital Bangladesh Fair begins today

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Jan 16,2020

 
 

Posts and telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar speaks at a press briefing on the Digital Bangladesh Fair 2020 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman Md Jahurul Haque and telecom secretary Nur-Ur-Rahman were also present. — New Age photo

Posts and telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar on Wednesday said he expected that mobile phone operator Grameenphone would follow Robi Axiata and start clearing an audit claim made by the telecom regulator.

He made the remark at a press briefing organised on the Digital Bangladesh Fair that will begin today at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at Agargaon in the capital.

The posts and telecommunications ministry in association with the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh is organising the three-day fair at the BICC.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman Md Jahurul Haque and telecom secretary Nur-Ur-Rahman were present in the briefing.

Replying to a question over Robi’s payment of Tk 27.6 crore in the first out of five instalments of Tk 138 crore against the BTRC’s audit claim as per a High Court order, Jabbar thanked Robi for making the payment and termed the move as ice-breaking.

He said, ‘Robi might have realised finally that they will have to follow and respect rules and regulations of a country where they are in business operation.’

When asked about the minister’s call, Grameenphone external communications head Md Hasan said, ‘We cannot comment on  matters between the regulator and other operators.’

The telecom regulator, based on two separate audits, has claimed Tk 12,579.95 crore and Tk 867 crore from GP and Robi respectively.

A High Court bench asked Robi to make initial payment of Tk 138 crore in five instalments during a hearing of a writ petition filed by Robi.

The Appellate Division instructed GP to pay Tk 2,000 crore in three months.

‘I hope that another operator GP, which sent a legal notice to our president, would follow Robi and start clearing payments,’ he said.

Speaking about the payment by Robi, Jahurul said, ‘The collective measures to realise the audit claim has forced Robi to pay the money following a court order.’

Immediately after the payment of the first instalment of Tk 138 crore, the commission withdrew its sanction on Robi and instructed its officials to resume issuing non-objection certificate to Robi, Jahurul said.

The sanction withdrawal on Robi would remain valid until February 29 and would be extended if the operator clears upcoming instalments duly, he said.

Speaking about the fair, Jabbar said that introducing the youths with the emerging fourth industrial revolution was the main objective behind the arrangement so that they got attracted and motivated to engage themselves with the journey.

The latest technological developments will be demonstrated at the fair, he said.

A total of 82 entities including ISPs are participating in the programme where visitors would be able to see the parental control, triple play, mobile app, broadband internet service and digital technologies, he said.

ZTE, Huawei, Nokia and Ericson would demonstrate 5G technology or the fifth generation telecom service live at the fair venue.

To encourage participation at the fair, there will be no entry fee but the visitors will have to get registration online at https://www.digitalbangladeshmela.org.bd/, he said, adding that the registration facility would be available on the fair premises as well.

Apart from the technology products demonstration, 12 discussion sessions on different technology-related topics will be held at the fair.

In reply to a question regarding privacy and data security, Jabbar said, ‘It is true that we are becoming more vulnerable to privacy and data security as we are embracing technologies and digital services.’

Mentioning that safety and security of women and children were under threat in internet, the minister said, ‘To raise awareness in this regard, the ministry will give visitors a book on cyber security and privacy at free of cost as part of our move on building public awareness on cyber security.’

The telecom minister also said that he had planned to address the privacy and data security issues either by enacting new law or accommodating the issue in the existing laws.

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