Rules finalised to form body for Tk 500cr social obligation fund

December 27, 2014

SOF to be used to reach telecom facilities to disadvantaged people
The government has finalised the rules for social obligation fund, an amount of Tk 500 crore contributed by the telecom operators, with a provision to form an 11-member committee to manage and utilise the money. The SOF will be used to reach the telecommunication facilities to the disadvantaged people, said the rules. The government has been collecting money from the mobile phone operators since 2011 at the rate of 1 per cent of their revenue but is yet to use it because of lack of rules.
According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials, the size of the fund reached to Tk 500 crore in November.
The committee will be headed by the telecommunications minister where telecom secretary, ICT Division secretary, social welfare secretary, BTRC chairman and BTRC vice-chairman will be members, said the SOF rules.
Managing director of Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited, and representatives from the Association of Mobile Telephone Operators of Bangladesh, the Association of PSTN Operators of Bangladesh and the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh will also be members of the committee, it also said.
The committee will be responsible for formulating plans and approving projects to use the fund. It will also audit the projects and prepare the budget for the fund.
The bank account of the SOF will be operated under joint signature of the vice-chairman and a director general of the BTRC.
The committee has to prepare the financial statement of the fund within 60 days after the year and the fund will also be audited by the Comptroller and the Auditor General.
The BTRC officials said there was criticism about the idle money of the fund as the government was late in formulating the rules.
‘Now the rules designed a committee which will decide about the projects under the fund. So we will be able to use the money,’ an official said.

-With New Age input

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