USD62m collected from telcos for school fund, but still not allocated

19 Sep 2013

Haiti’s National Council of Telecommunications (Conatel) has reported that between 15 June 2011 and 2 September 2013 a total of USD62.358 million was collected for the National Fund for Education (FNE), from telecoms operators via the tax on incoming international calls (USD0.005 per call terminated). The payments were broken down thus: USD55.491 million from Digicel; USD4.960 million from Comcel (a.k.a. Voila, which was taken over by Digicel during the period); and USD1.907 million from the newest network operator Natcom. In addition, Conatel stated that unpaid levies on international calls totalling USD2.474 million (USD2.108 million from Digicel and USD366,000 from Natcom) were pending.

The FNE was established more than two years ago to finance free schooling for the most disadvantaged children in Haiti, but news site HaitiLibre.com points out that parliament has still not ratified the bill allowing the funds to be deployed. The lower house passed the bill in August 2012 (13 months after the creation of the FNE) and transferred it to the Senate for ratification, ahead of its expected promulgation in the official gazette ‘Le Moniteur’, but more than a year on its publication remains pending.

HaitiLibre.com also notes that the FNE fund size has reached a total of roughly USD145 million including the USD1.50 international money transfer fees collected by the Central Bank under the FNE (reaching USD45 million by August 2012 and an estimated USD80 million a year later).

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