The country’s leading mobile phone operator, Grameenphone, is scheduled to pay today another Tk 1,000 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission as per an Appellate Division order.
BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Islam told New Age that the operator had informed them that they (GP) would pay another Tk 1,000 crore in audit claim today (Tuesday).
‘With this, the total amount to be realised from GP against audit claims would stand at Tk 2,000 crore,’ he said, adding, ‘It’s a great achievement of the commission and its officials especially in the time of coronavirus outbreak when the country’s revenue collection has dropped significantly due to the current economic situation.’
Immediately after the recovery, the commission would deposit the amount in the government’s exchequer, he said.
With the deposition of Tk 1,000 crore, the BTRC’s deposit to the government exchequer would exceed Tk 4,000 crore, surpassing its annual non-tax revenue collection target by around Tk 900 crore.
On February 23, GP paid Tk 1,000 crore as the first installment to the BTRC as per the court order. The total BRTC audit claims stand at Tk 12,579.95 crore.
Replying to a question about the commission’s next step regarding the issue, the BTRC chairman said, ‘The next course of action over audit claim recovery would be decided when the general holidays are over.’
After the payment of first installment, the court on February 24 asked the telecom operator to pay another Tk 1,000 crore as the court in November last year asked the operator to pay Tk 2,000 crore out of the BTRC’s claim before the court resolves the issue.
A GP statement issued by its head of external communications Md Hasan on Monday, without specifying the date of payment, said that the operator had decided to pay the balance adjustable deposit of Tk 1,000 crore to the BTRC within May 31 following the order of the Appellate Division on GP’s revenue petition, relating to the injunction.
‘GP respects the legal system of Bangladesh, the Supreme Court’s direction, and looks forward to the continued court protection to run regular business operations, improve customer experience, bring confidence back in the business environment and protect the value of its shareholders,’ Hasan said.
He also reiterated that GP disputed the validity of the BTRC audit and the claim.
‘The operator’s ambition is to resolve the audit dispute, either through an amicable and transparent solution with the relevant authorities or before the courts,’ the statement said.
‘With this balance adjustable deposit, GP will have fully complied with the court directions relating to the injunction,’ said Hasan, adding that GP appreciated the recent collaboration with the regulator and looked forward to the continued cooperation to fully restore normal operations.
Upon receiving of the court order and the first installment, the commission from March started issuing non-objection certificate to the mobile operator, which was a great relief for the telecom operator, after the regulator had kept such NOC issuance suspended since July last year.
The BTRC’s claim to GP includes Tk 8,498 crore of the telecom regulator and another Tk 4,086 crore of the National Board of Revenue.
The first attempt of BTRC to audit GP failed in 2011 as the HC declared illegal the appointment of auditor to GP by the telecom regulator.
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