• Sunday, Apr 05, 2020
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GP to pay Tk1,000cr to BTRC on Sunday

  • Published at 08:41 pm February 21st, 2020
Logo of Grameenphone logo, left, and logo of BTRC, right

GP's Head of External Communication Md Hasan confirmed the matter on Friday

The private mobile phone operator Grameenphone (GP) has decided to pay Tk1,000 crore of the government audit claim to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Sunday.

Md Hasan, the telecom's head of External Communications, confirmed the matter on Friday.

Grameenphone reached the decision just a day after the apex court on Thursday ordered the country's leading telecom operator to pay the amount to BTRC by Monday.

Md Hasan said that Grameenphone respected the legal system of Bangladesh and would abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court.

He, however, added that the mobile operator looked forward to getting court protection from the pressure BTRC had applied on the company and its management.

In a written statement, the telecom operator said: "BTRC has applied several actions to restrict Grameenphone's operations, including declining no objection certificates, issuing show cause notice for license cancellation, denying recycling of number series and threatening the company with the appointment of an administrator.

"These actions have had a negative impact on customer experience and business partners, reduced confidence in the business environment and dented interest from investors," the company added.

Grameenphone, the statement said, reiterated that the company disputed the validity of the BTRC audit claim and looked forward to having its position heard in court.

"Grameenphone continues its dialogue with the authorities of Bangladesh to find an amicable and transparent solution to the dispute and protect the value to customers, partners and shareholders," the statement read.

Complying with the Supreme Court's direction, Grameenphone expects that "business operations will run without further obstacles and allow us to best serve our customers," it concluded.

On Thursday, the Appellate Division ordered Grameenphone to pay Tk1,000 crore to BTRC by Monday.

The apex court's full seven-member bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, issued the order after hearing a review petition filed by the leading mobile phone operator. 

After running an audit on GP, the BTRC in 2016 had claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from the mobile phone operator in taxes and late fees accumulated over the years.

The dispute about the audit intensified last year, with the company facing regulatory punishment, including suspension of service and expansion, for not clearing the audit claim.

On November 24, 2019, the Appellate Division ordered GP to pay Tk2,000 crore of the Tk12,579.95 crore dues within three months. The deadline expires on Monday.

The telecom regulator claimed the dues in 27 sectors from GP, but failed to recover the money. Later, BTRC sent a notice to GP threatening to revoke its licence on April 2 last year.

But GP moved the court, seeking a temporary injunction on the notice which was turned down on August 28 that year. It later filed an appeal with the High Court Division.

On October 17, the High Court imposed a two-month injunction on realization of dues from GP. BTRC later moved the Appellate Division against the order.