BTRC refuses to accept operators’ quarterly payments

11 Jul 2019

Telecoms regulator the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has refused mobile phone operators’ various payments amounting to BDT10 billion (USD116 million) and relating to, among other things, revenue sharing, the social obligation fund and annual spectrum fees for the April-June period, after the cellcos declined to include the associated VAT tax, estimated at DBT1.5 billion, in the sum. The operators have said they are withholding the VAT as the BTRC does not have the relevant registration to receive it.

SM Farhad, secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said that according to the recently passed VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012, it was mandatory for suppliers or service entities, including the BTRC, to have the VAT registration. Meanwhile, BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque said the commission would only accept the payments excluding VAT if the operators could produce in writing proof that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) would receive the VAT, adding: ‘Even if they do collect the NBR note, the last date has already passed and the operators failed to make their payments, so they will be charged 15% in late fees.’ BTRC officials say that if the commission gets registered, the operators will be able to claim rebates on the VAT, but the NBR is not willing to register it.

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