First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The government has frozen assets of Smart Telecom after the company failed to pay arrears worth Rs 5 billion under different headings to the government including license renewal fee, rural telecommunication development fund, among others.
The Cabinet restricted Smart’s transfer of assets and shares after the company failed to pay the ninth instalment which should have been paid by mid-July last year.
However, the Cabinet has given Smart Telecom till mid-April to clear its outstanding dues to the government.
Prior to this, a Cabinet meeting on August 13 had directed Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) to take Smart’s assets under the control if the company fails to clear dues to the government by mid-March 2021. Previously, NTA had decided to scrap license of Smart Telecom after the company failed to clear dues to the government within stipulated time.
However, the Cabinet had revoked NTA’s decision and given Smart the chance to clear dues in instalment. Now, if Smart fails to clear its dues to the government by mid-April, the company will come under ownership of the government.
Based on decision of the Cabinet, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has already sent a letter to NTA regarding dues to be cleared by Smart. Santosh Poudel, spokesperson at NTA, informed that the NTA has received the letter from Ministry. Smart had received Unified License in 2070 BS.
As per the Frequency Policy, 2069, the renewal fee of Unified License can be paid in 10 instalments, Rs 50 million in the first and second instalments, Rs 100 million in the third instalment, Rs 200 million in the fourth instalment, Rs 350 million in the fifth instalment, Rs 500 million in the sixth instalment, Rs 1 billion in the seventh, Rs 1.25 billion in the eighth, Rs 1.5 billion in the ninth and Rs 2 billion in the tenth instalment.
It is the ninth instalment or Rs 1.5 billion that Smart now should clear within mid-April. As per NTA, Smart has 2.2 million GSM customers.
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