The meeting was presided over by the Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed
The government is set to appoint administrators to Grameenphone and Robi if the two mobile operators fail to make at least partial payment of the audit claims of BTRC within the deadline.
At a meeting on Sunday, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had a discussion on what should be done to realize the telecom regulator’s audit claims of Tk13, 445 crore.
The meeting was presided over by the Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed. BTRC Chairman Jahurul Haque and Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar were also present.
“If the two operators, GP and Robi, do not comply with the court order and fail to pay within the stipulated time, we will be forced to take action. Our action will be as per the relevant law,” Mustafa Jabbar told Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
He said the government was for an amicable solution to the dispute and added that the two operators should comply with the law of the land.
The BTRC chairman told Dhaka Tribune on Monday that the possibility of appointing administrators as a measure to realize the commission’s audit claim was discussed at the meeting on Sunday.
“We have completed the process for appointing the administrators. If the two operators fail to pay, we will go forward with our plan to appoint the administrators,” he said.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, on November 24, ordered Grameenphone to pay BTRC Tk2,000 crore in three months, the telecom regulator’s total audit claim (as dues) from the mobile operator being Tk12,579 crore.
The High Court on January 5 this year asked Robi Axiata Limited to pay BTRC Tk138 crore in five equal installments, the telecom regulator’s total audit claim (as dues) from the mobile operator being Tk867.23 crore.
Both GP and Robi in late August filed cases with the court, challenging the audit claims of BTRC.
Telenor Asia, parent company of GP, also sent a notice to President Abdul Hamid in October last year, seeking arbitration concerning the audit dispute.
Meeting sources and BTRC officials said the government would take action as per the telecom law that included licence cancellation and appointing administrator to run the companies.
BTRC officials said the appointment of administrator was more likely, as cancellation of licence would adversely affect the customers of both the operators.
Earlier in October, the BTRC got telecom ministry approval to appoint administrator to GP and Robi but Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal intervened and decided to allow the operators some time to resolve the audit claim amicably.
A BTRC official said the government would appoint eminent personalities, acceptable to all, as administrators.
“There will be three more technical persons appointed to help the administrators in dealing with legal, engineering and finance-related matters,” a senior BTRC official told Dhaka Tribune
On September, BTRC sent two show-cause notices to GP and Robi asking why their licences would not be revoked for failure to pay their dues.