‘Solution to disputes with GP, Robi in 3 weeks’

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal speaks at a press conference at the secretariat on Wednesday. Photo: UNBFinance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday said the disputes of mobile operators Grameenphone (GP) and Robi with Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) over outstanding dues will be resolved within two or three weeks through discussions, reports UNB.

“We’ll go for a solution where neither they (GP and Robi) nor we’ll lose. They’ll run their business in the country and we’ll also recover our dues. We’ll help them in this regard,” he said while speaking at a press conference at the secretariat.

The finance minister also expressed the hope that two mobile companies will withdraw cases filed against the telecom regulator.

Meanwhile, posts and telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar said they have long been trying to resolve the issue and they reached the final stage.

“But, now the finance minister has taken the responsibility and we’re of the same view.”

“We don’t want to spoil the business atmosphere here but at the same time, there’s no way to ignore the revenue issue. Hopefully, we’ll be able to resolve the issue shortly through discussions,” he added.

Chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque, GP CEO Michael Foley were also present at the conference.

GP has Tk 125.7 billion in dues to the government, including Tk 40.85 billion to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), while Robi has Tk 8.67 billion to the government, including Tk 1.97 billion to the NBR alone, as per a BTRC audit.

GP and Robi filed two cases against BTRC with the Dhaka civil court on 26 August and 25 August respectively for its alleged faulty audit reports exaggerating the dues of the operators.

On 5 September, BTRC issued show-causes notices to GP and Robi seeking explanation as to why their 2G and 3G licences should not be revoked for failure to pay dues.

Earlier, BTRC stopped issuing fresh NOCs (no objection certificates) to GP and Robi over the row about dues to the government.

However, it backtracked from the decision later. 

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