Kathmandu, August 12
Though the government has repeatedly directed Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST) to clear its balance, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has given the company an extension to clear part of its pending dues by August 18.
According to Purushottam Khanal, chairman of NTA, NST needs to pay Rs 70 million within August 18, while it can pay the rest of its outstanding amount — the company owes nearly Rs one billion — within three months from August 18.
The NTA board meeting decided to follow the same path that the authority had taken in case of Smart Telecom in 2017. The telecom company had
then filed a lawsuit against the NTA and the court had issued a stay order.
“But as the regulator of the telecommunications sector, we are bound to extend similar treatment to all telecom operators,” explained Khanal.
Stating that NTA is doing its level best not to have to scrap the operating licence of any telecom firm, he added, “However, this is the last chance for NST and if they fail to abide by our instruction this time also, we will revoke their licence.”
As per NTA, the controversial businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi needs to pay nearly Rs one billion under the headings of licence renewal fee, frequency fee, service expansion fee and fee for Rural Telecommunications Development Fund.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to give continuity to a stay order on a writ petition filed by Nepal Satellite Telecom. The telecom firm had sought a court order seeking cancellation of the amount that it had to pay to NTA.
A single bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on July 18 had refused to continue the stay order in favour of NST.
As per NTA, different telecommunication service providers in the country have not paid dues worth Rs 2.96 billion to the government.
There are 153 telecommunication service providers in the country. Those telecommunication service providers who have not cleared their dues to the government include United Telecom Ltd (UTL), Smart Telecom, NST, BroadLink Network, among others.
Among them, Smart Telecom tops the chart of service providers that have not cleared dues to the government. As per NTA, the telecom firm is yet to pay Rs 1.4 billion tax to the government under frequency fee, royalty fee and renewal fee. Similarly, UTL has not paid taxes worth Rs 795 million to the government that it should pay under the aforementioned headings.
A version of this article appears in print on August 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.