Telco business must obey laws: Jabbar

DHAKA Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar today categorically said that all companies in Bangladesh especially in the telecom sector would have to do their businesses following the existing laws, rules and regulations of the country.

I would thank Robi for their first due payment as they have at long last realized that they will have to do their business in Bangladesh following the existing laws, rules and regulations of the country he said.

Jabbar said this while answering a question at his press conference on the launching of the three-day maiden Digital Bangladesh Mela scheduled for January 16-18, 2020 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).

On Tuesday, Robi Axiata Limited, country's 2nd largest mobile phone operator, paid Tk 27.60 crore to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) as the first installment of Tk 138 crore of the dues as directed by the High Court.

The Telecommunications Minister without mentioning the name said there is a large telecom operator in the country which is yet to make a payment out of their huge dues and that company even sent a legal notice to the President.

I want to categorically say that those who would like to do business in Bangladesh, especially in the telecom sector, would have to do their business following the existing laws, rules and regulations of the country..those companies will have to show respect to the existing laws, rules and regulations he added.

Jabbar said the entire nation was united in this regard and the realization of the 1st installment from Robi has set a 'bright example' in the telecom sector.

I would rather say it as 'ice breaking'. Robi has started the journey and I hope the rest will follow the path of Robi and thus pay their due amounts. Because, the due amount belongs to the state he said.

BTRC Chairman Jahurul Haque extended his heartfelt gratitude to all concerned including the support from media for realizing the 1st installment from Robi saying that all remained united in this regard for the sake of country's interest.

He informed that the Robi would clear their entire due amount in five installments and they are expected to pay their 2nd installment by February 29 this year.

According to s BTRC audit, Robi has Tk 867.23 crore in dues to the government, including Tk 197.21 crore to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), and GP has Tk 12,579.95 crore, including Tk 4,085.95 crore to the NBR.

On January 5 last, the High Court asked Robi to pay within five months Tk 138 crore.

The court also asked the mobile phone operator to pay the first installment within January 30.

On July 31 last year, the BTRC issued a letter to Robi demanding payment of Tk 867.23 crore dues.

On August 25, 2019, Robi filed a case against the payment demand with a lower court and sought temporary injunction on the BTRC's letter which was turned down.

On September 5, 2019, the telecom regulator issued show-cause notices to Robi and Grameenphone seeking explanation as to why their 2G and 3G licences should not be revoked for failure to pay dues within 30 days.

Robi then filed an appeal with the High Court on October 22, last year seeking a temporary injunction on the BTRC's letter seeking money.

On November 24 last, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court asked Grameenphone to pay within three months Tk 2,000 crore of the Tk 12,579.95 crore dues as claimed by the BTRC.

However, the leading mobile phone operator is yet to deposit any money.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)