Finance committee to consult experts on NT’s 4G expansion project

Published On: January 28, 2019 08:47 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 28: The Finance Committee of parliament has decided to hold consultation with experts on Nepal Telecom’s 4G project. 

The meeting of the committee held on Sunday decided to consult with experts on the issue before taking any decision on the state-owned telecom operator’s 4G project.

The committee decided to consult with the experts after lawmakers remained divided on the issue in Sunday’s meeting. 

Speaking at the meeting, lawmakers had questioned the contract selection process for the project. Lawmaker Ram Kumari Jhakri said: “We are preparing to expand 4G at a time when the world is ready to welcome 5G services.” 

Stating that a private operator has awarded contract for expanding 4G service at Rs 4 billion, she questioned why Nepal Telecom was paying Rs 18 billion for the same service.

Likewise, another lawmaker Meta Mani Chaudhary wondered why Nepal Telecom was paying Rs 18 billion for works of Rs 2-3 billion. “The procurement process does not seem transparent. We can see wrong intention even with closed eyes,” he added.

Similarly, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, another lawmaker, suggested holding a consultation meeting with experts before jumping to a conclusion. “As it is a technical matter, we cannot take any decision without studying the 4G planning and expansion process,” added Karki. He even suggested conducting a third party evaluation of the project to know about the project in detail. “The project should not be obstructed on one pretext or the other,” he added.

Lawmaker Surendra Pandey underlined the need to examine business plan of the Nepal Telecom. “We should examine the business plan and hold consultation with experts before taking any decision,” Pandey said. “We need to discuss the issue with IT experts and former officials of the Nepal Telecom.”

However, Lawmaker Krishna Poudel urged the committee to take decision on the issue at the earliest. “The project might suffer if we keep on discussing the issue without taking any decision,” he added.

Earlier on Friday NTA had submitted its plan and strategy for expansion of 4G service to the committee. The committee is scheduled to hold consultation on the issue with experts on Tuesday.

House panels tells NTA to recover royalty dues

Parliament’s Development Committee has directed Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to recover dues amount to be collected from telecommunication service provider companies immediately. 

After studying situation report presented by NTA, the meeting held on Sunday directed the telecommunications regulator to recover pending dues from telecommunication service providers at the earliest.

According to the report, NTA is still to collect at least Rs 19.52 billion in royalty from different telecommunication service providers. Similarly, the committee also directed NTA to scrap license of companies that are not providing telecommunication services. It also directed the NTA to forward the process of making amendments to existing telecommunication act and regulations. 

Meanwhile, the house panel also instructed the NTA for effective utilization of Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) and ensure timely completion of projects being implemented by utilizing the fund.

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