IGWs reluctant to pay Tk 112cr in late fees

Staff Correspondent

The international gateway operators have continued to defer the payment of Tk 112 crore late fees, due for four years, after the regulator once again recently asked them to pay the money.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials said the 21 IGW operators were yet to pay 15 per cent late fees on revenue sharing and licence fees from July 2012 to June 2015.
According to BTRC data, the late fees on revenue sharing are worth Tk 86.96 crore and on licence fees are Tk 25.30 crore.
‘Following a commission decision we asked the IGWs to pay the money recently but the operators in a meeting on Tuesday again declined to pay the money,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age on Thursday.
He said that the operators claimed their business was dull in that period and the government should consider that.
‘Although we have strictly told the IGWs that there is no way to exempt them from paying the late fee but the operators did not agree to pay it. So the matter still remained unsettled. IGWs will again sit with us on the matter,’ he said.
On October 2015, the BTRC served a notice on the IGW Operators’ Forum, a cartel of IGW companies, to pay the late fees.
The IOF, however, urged the BTRC to waive the late fees for the period of July 2012 -June 2015.
The BTRC, after analysing the relevant clauses, denied the IOF proposal and asked it to deposit the money by March 2016.
In April 2014, the BTRC relaxed the provisions of revenue sharing and licensing fees for IGW operators by amending guidelines.
The IGW operators had to deposit their annual fees anytime before the issuance date of their respective licences, which is now 60 days from the date of licence issuance, according to the amended guidelines.
The government also reduced the revenue sharing of the IGWs with the government to 40 per cent from 51.75 per cent and lowered the call rate to 1.5 US cents from 3 cents that caused huge revenue losses for the government.
BTRC officials said despite relaxation of various laws, the IGW operators were reluctant to pay their dues.

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