Public Accounts Committee instructs halting Smart Telecom license sale

KATHMANDU: : The Public Accounts Committee, a part of Nepal’s Federal Parliament’s House of Representatives, has issued a directive to suspend the sale of Smart Telecom’s licenses. The directive, conveyed during a meeting at Singhdarbar, instructs both the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Nepal Telecommunication Authority.

This directive stems from discussions regarding the sale of licenses belonging to Smart Telecom, a previously closed telecommunication service provider, among other permits and licenses allocated to private telecom companies. The committee has urged the postponement of the company’s license sale if they have unpaid obligations and haven’t gone into liquidation.

The committee’s statement emphasized the need for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Nepal Telecommunication Authority to promptly provide relevant decision documents to the committee.

In a bid to support Smart Telecom investors facing risks associated with debt obligations to Ncell, the government recently modified asset management regulations for telecom service providers without licenses.

During a two-day committee meeting, topics included Teramox technology acquisition and the declining revenues of telecom companies. The committee concluded that a comprehensive examination of the Teramox technology procurement process is necessary.

The committee has instructed the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Nepal Telecommunication Authority to furnish certified copies of documents and decisions associated with the technology procurement process to the committee within seven days.

Furthermore, the committee noted that despite global competition driving down telecommunications service prices, Nepal’s pricing lacks the necessary effort for reduction and the service quality remains subpar. The Nepal Telecommunication Authority is urged to initiate steps for affordable high-quality services.

It has also been observed that Nepal’s political, legal, and infrastructure sectors have failed to keep pace with IT developments. The Public Accounts Committee expressed concern that institutions responsible for implementing the law are not efficiently addressing issues while adhering to current legislation.

In light of these matters, the relevant agencies are tasked with collecting owed revenue from internet and telecom service providers in Nepal within three months. Service providers who fail to settle their accounts within the designated timeframe are to face consequences per regulations, and this information must be relayed to the committee.

Additionally, the committee identified slow progress in projects funded by the Rural Telecommunication Development Fund. The Nepal Telecommunication Authority is directed to expedite the work on the information highway, specifically optical fiber deployment, as it has not met expected pace.

Fiscal Nepal |
Sunday October 15, 2023, 12:38:04 PM |

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