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18 September, 2019 06:34:34 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 September, 2019 09:40:42 PM
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GP-Robi's conflict with BTRC to be resolved in 3 weeks: Minister

Independent Online Desk
GP-Robi's conflict with BTRC to be resolved in 3 weeks: Minister
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Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday hoped that the dispute over the telecom regulator’s audit claim of around Taka 12,000 against the country’s largest mobile phone operator Grameenphone is likely to be settled within the next two to three weeks through discussions.

“We’re (government and GP) going towards an amicable solution which will be transparent and be acceptable to both the parties. It should not take more than two to three weeks to resolve the problem. We’ll forget all happenings (disputes) and we want to bury all these things from today,” he said.

The finance minister was briefing reporters after Post and Telecommunications Minister Mostafa Jabbar, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Grameenphone CEO Michael Patrick Foley met him at his secretariat office.

Earlier on August 25 and August 26 respectively, the mobile operators Robi and Grameenphone filed two cases with a Dhaka court, seeking permanent injunctions on the telecom regulator’s audit claims of Tk 13,447 crore.

On September 5, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued show cause notices on the operators, asking them to explain within 30 days why their licenses would not be cancelled for not paying the dues.

The telecom regulator ran separate audits into the two operators’ books from their inception until December 2014 and claimed the amounts — Tk 12,579.95 crore from GP and Tk 867.24 crore from Robi.

The finance minister said the Grameenphone would withdraw its case while both the government and the GP would sit across the table and thus come to a win-win solution.

“If we pursue our disputes with them (GP), it might take a longer time and it might also hamper their business………so, the best possible avenue for a peaceful solution would be that they would pay us the dues and for that we would extend them all necessary cooperation,” he added.

Answering to a question, Kamal said for sitting across the table with the government for an amicable solution, the GP is trying to get their consent from the Telenor headquarters.

“It’s difficult to say in how many days the dispute would be resolved. But, there will be a solution, Insha Allah, and you will know it in due time. The final solution will not go against the country,” he said, adding the government would try to realize whatever (amount) the legitimate claim is.

Post and Telecommunications Minister Mostafa Jabbar expressed his high optimism about resolving the problem through discussions and said no such situation would be created which would hamper the environment of doing business.

“The BTRC doesn’t want that the healthy environment of business is hampered. Side by side, the national exchequer can’t be affected…we’re hopeful about a win-win solution,” he added.

The NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the BTRC’s audit claim of around Taka 8,000 crore from GP have around 60-70 percent interest. On the other hand, he said the NBR’s audit claim of around Taka 4,000 crore from GP does not have any interest.

“So, we’re slightly ahead in this regard and we were in a process of realizing this amount through ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)… Now we’re hopeful of realizing the amount,” he added.

Grameenphone CEO Michael Patrick Foley said there are certain issues which have to be resolved only through discussions and nothing else.

“When we say amicably, we’ll remove all the obstacles and we’re now looking for a status quo. We’ll get to the table and try to deal it as quickly as possible in a transparent and fair manner,” he added.

Answering to a question, Foley said they have always paid their dues to the government which was justified.

“I’m pleased now that we’ve come together to find out an amicable, transparent and fair resolution to the issues around audit,” added the CEO of the country’s top mobile phone operator.bss.

HM

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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