BTRC yet to start auditing telcos 2 years after floating tender

January 25, 2015

The country’s telecom regulator is yet to start auditing the mobile phone operators despite initiating the process two years back in 2013. According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials, because of internal and external issues the audit process is being delayed. The BTRC had called international audit firms in January 2013 to crosscheck various information of six telecom operators —Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell and Teletalk — but cancelled the bid in January 2014.
The BTRC cancelled the process following an objection by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh as the local auditors claimed that as per the country’s law a foreign audit firm could work in capacity of a consultant but could not be appointed as an auditor.
The telecom regulator in February 2014 had floated fresh tender for the job calling audit firms with a condition that participating firms must have registration of the ICAB and have foreign partners.
Even after 11 months of the second tender the BTRC is yet to finalise a firm for the job.
‘The committee to select the audit firm could not work properly because some of its members were engaged in foreign seminars and trainings. The committee meetings were also irregular,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age on Thursday when asked about the issue.
He, however, said the main reason for delay in appointing an audit firm is that the commission was very cautious about the matter.
‘Because of faulty appointment process the move was foiled in 2011. So this time the commission doesn’t want to take any risk and make the appointment completely flawless,’ the official said.
In May 2011, the telecom regulator appointed a firm which audited Grameenphone, the country’s largest mobile phone operator, and submitted a report in October.
According to the report, GP’s outstanding amount to the government was Tk 3,034 crore in unpaid revenue and tax.
Two other firms were also appointed to audit the second largest operator, Banglalink, but the auditors later declined to continue.
The matter was taken to court and the Supreme Court on December 9, 2013 declared the appointments of firms by the telecom regulator to open the audits into the mobile phone operators illegal.
According to the expression of interest issued by the BTRC, the audit firm will check actual imports, relevant invoices, actual prices of equipment and the software and installation of the telecom equipments.
The firm was also responsible for finding out the actual revenue generated and the calculation procedure to make the payment to the BTRC, National Board of Revenue and other agencies for a particular or whole licensing period and reconcile those with the operator’s financial statements.

-With New Age input

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