UTL says it is paying its dues

Kathmandu, January 8:

United Telecom Ltd (UTL), the basic telecom operator that uses WLL technology, today protested against certain media reports that said the company had not been paying royalty to the government.

As per the licence issued to various service providers, telecom service providers have to contribute 2 per cent of their annual gross revenue to the RTDF (Rural Telecom Development Fund). Denying charges that UTL had not been paying its dues, NM Manickam, general manager, UTL, claimed it had made all payments to the RTDF up to 2062-63 BS. “The next payment will be due only in July for the year 2063-64,” he claimed. Clause 25 of the Telecommunications Regulation, 2054, requires the licencees to spend 15 per cent of their total investment in development, expansion and operations of telecommunication services in rural areas. “UTL has invested 20 per cent of its investment in the VDCs,” Manickam claimed.

As per the licence of UTL, VDCs near the cities where UTL is operating and will be operating are to be covered. Currently, UTL is operating in Kathmandu Valley and all the VDCs surrounding the Valley have been covered by the company, said Dinesh Mahur, deputy general manager. He said UTL is set to launch its services in Birgunj and Hetauda.

Regarding the royalty issue, Mahur said like most licencees, UTL was paying 4 per cent of its annual gross revenue as royalty to the government. UTL has already paid royalty amounts up to fiscal 2061-62 and requested the licensor to allow it to continue to pay at the same rate for the fiscal year 2062-63 keeping in mind the losses incurred by the company. “We are awaiting approval from the licensor/ Regulator (Nepal Telecom Authority) so that we can remit the royalty amount to the government exchequer,” said Mahur. The telecom player claims to have never defaulted on payment of government dues having paid about Rs 175 crore to the government as customs duty, licence fee, royalty, income tax, VAT, TSC among others in the past four years.