The outgoing Oli government has given yet another exemption to Smart Telecom, which owes the government over Rs 6 billion in taxes. Smart Telecom is yet to clear its frequency and license renewal fees. The last cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on July 12 gave Smart Telecom a six-month extension to clear its arrears.
Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) had last year decided to cancel the license of Smart Telecom, which had failed to clear its dues even after repeated extensions of payment deadlines over the past four years. The Oli government had earlier given a deadline of February this year, which was then extended to July. Now, the deadline has been extended again to January 2022.
Smart Telecom had filed an application with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on June 26, demanding yet another extension. A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on July 12 decided to extend the term by six months, also informing NTA about the decision on the same day.
The Cabinet decision also states that government’s prior approval will be mandatory for the sale of shares and assets of Smart Telecom.
According to the NTA payment plans, the company had to pay a frequency fee of Rs 598.86 million in the first installment, Rs 832.3 million in the second, Rs 774 million in the third, Rs 715.6 million in the fourth, and Rs 657.2 million in the fifth. Besides the set installments, Smart Telecom also has to pay another Rs 1.25 billion in license renewal fees.