4 Feb 2020, Kathmandu
The Public Accounting Committee has directed the Nepal Telecommunications Authority to seize frequencies from telecommunications service provider companies that are holding frequencies with proper licenses but not using them.
Sunday’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee under the House of Representatives of the Federal Parliament instructed the Chairman of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Purushottam Khanal, to seize the frequency of companies that do not provide services with the frequencies they hold and do not pay arrears.
After the meeting of the committee, the secretary of the committee, Rojnath Pandey said that Ncell had already provided a list of the time to pay the taxable payment and instructed to provide the frequency as there were no arrears with Nepal Telecom. He said that the committee had directed the authority to proceed with the auction of frequency bands if they didn’t utilize the said frequencies in a specified time.
In the meeting, it was said that the government is going to lose billions of rupees apart from the revenue generated from the companies holding the frequencies, adding that the auction should be conducted so other companies can increase their working frequency. Parliamentarian Prem Bahadur Ale said that the government is facing a loss of Rs. 1 arba 56 crore and 40 lakhs.
Member of Parliament Rajendra Kumar KC questioned why there was no revenue payment for frequency holding, according to the law, the companies with license for basic telephone network and infrastructural development can take part in tender announced by the government, but Ncell was allowed to take part in the tender process despite not having paid a huge arrear. He said the authority should answer why other companies do not receive such a facility but Ncell did.
MP Amanlal Modi said that the committee should give direction as the authority could not recover the revenue. He emphasized that the committee should instruct Smart Telecom, UTL, and Nepal Satellite and some Internet provider companies to pay their dues.
Responding to the question of the MPs in the committee meeting, Chairman of Nepal Telecommunication Authority Purushottam Khanal said that Nepal Telecom and Ncell have access to frequency. He clarified that Ncell’s profit tax collection was a different issue and that there was no definitive tax assessment, which allowed the company to take part in the tender.
He also said that the frequency arrear of Rs 5 arba 68 crores was remaining through the Internet service providers including UTL, Smart Telecom, Nepal Satellite and other companies that have been stripped of their frequency bands because of their dues. The government has decided to charge the defaulter amount in five installments from the companies and accordingly, the authority has directed the correspondent to provide the first installment facility by Ashad, 2077. Similarly, they’ve been instructed to pay interest and penalties for submitting such installments.