Government blames ISPs for internet disruption amid payment dispute

KATHMANDU: In a recent turn of events, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) has pointed fingers at Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for the recent internet service disruption across Nepal. The Ministry clarified that the disruption was a consequence of ISPs failing to settle their dues of legally mandated tax amounts.

This statement from the MoCIT follows a series of allegations from certain ISPs, shifting blame to the government for not granting permission to remit money to their India-based vendors, which they claimed caused the disruption.

The controversy has been brewing for years, with the government insisting that ISPs clear backlog payments on non-telecommunication services, while ISPs argue against paying for these components, stating it’s against the law.

Citing specific regulations, the MoCIT emphasized the obligation for ISPs to charge fees in advance from customers for services within the country, including contributions to the Rural Development Fund and annual royalties to the government.

According to reports, ISPs are yet to clear dues worth Rs 3 billion to Indian companies, with the MoCIT allegedly refusing to recommend the central bank release funds due to pending tax liabilities.

Assistant Spokesperson at MoCIT, Bishal Sapkota, stressed the importance of adherence to legal provisions, urging all stakeholders to refrain from actions that could impede vital services and economic development.

Out of the registered ISPs and network service providers under the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), only a fraction have failed to meet their payment obligations, according to MoICIT.

The NTA, backed by MoCIT, has continually urged service providers to fulfill their financial obligations as stipulated by law, highlighting the potential disruptions in essential services like internet connectivity if compliance is not ensured.

Fiscal Nepal |
Friday May 3, 2024, 10:27:11 AM |

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