Go for public-private partnership: JS body asks state-run telecoms to set up laptop, cellphone, computer hardware industries

A parliamentary body yesterday asked the state-run telecom organisations to go for public-private partnership (PPP) to set up laptop, cellphone and computer hardware industries as early as possible.

The parliamentary standing committee on post and telecom ministry also asked Teletalk, BTCL and BSCCL to enlist with the stock market immediately and inform the committee about the follow-up at its next meeting.

The committee asked Bangladesh Telecommuni-cations Company Limited (BTCL) to modernise its billing system by the end of this year to reduce subscribers’ hassles.

“We have asked BTCL, Teletalk and Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd [BSCCL] to set up laptop, mobile handset and computer hardware industries under public-private partnership as soon as possible,” committee chief Hasanul Haq Inu told reporters after a meeting held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.

“The initiative will reduce debt pressures on the government,” Inu, also lawmaker from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), added.

He said they have asked the telecommunications ministry to recover all its land from grabbers and use those as well as its abandoned land for establishment of industries under PPP.

The committee also asked BTCL to provide internet facility in all schools and colleges at a fixed and cheap rate instead of existing multi-metering system.

“Subscribers of land phone face harassment during bill payment. We have asked BTCL to modernise its bill payment system by this year,” Inu said.

In response, SM Khabiruzzaman, managing director of BTCL, told reporters they have taken different initiatives including introducing prepaid bill and calling card system to modernise bill payment system.

Inu said they have asked Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to reduce more of the bandwidth charges.

“We welcome the BTRC initiative for reducing bandwidth charge from Tk 27,000 to Tk 18,000, but this is not enough to make internet facility available to all,” Inu said.

The standing committee also asked Teletalk, BTCL and BSCCL to enlist with the stock market immediately to meet its liquidity crisis.

The parliamentary watchdog body also asked BTCL to finalise its organogram and manpower structure by this year.

Inu said a parliamentary sub-committee formed to investigate alleged widespread corruption in telecom sector during the last seven years is continuing its investigation and is likely to submit its report within the stipulated timeframe of three months.

He added the sub-committee is also investigating alleged usage of money laundered during the BNP-Jamaat alliance rule in patronising militancy.

Source: The Daily Star, 22 July 2009


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