AmCham warns on Bangladesh telecom bill

Nicole McCormick
30 Jun 2010
00:00
News
Daily News

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Bangladesh and local operators have gone on the war path against the government’s planned telecom reforms.

AmCham executive Mainuddin Monem said the proposed new telecom law sends a wrong signal to foreign investors about the country’s investment climate, reports the Daily Star.

He told an AmCham meeting that if the bill, if passed, would undermine foreign direct investment in the telco industry, the country’s largest FDI sector.

The Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 2010 was placed before parliament on June 13 and has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Post and Telecommunication.

The bill advocates abolishing an operators’ right to appeal regulatory decisions.

It also calls for the regulator the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to share regulatory power with the telecoms ministry, owner of cellco Teletalk.

It also proposes increasing imposable fines on operators to BDT3 billion ($42m).

Mahmud Hossain, director of legal affairs of GrameenPhone, said that under the proposed act the BTRC would be able to change operators’ license terms without consultation.

“Such a provision will become a risk factor for the sector for future investment,” Hossain told a conference.

Hasanul Haq Inu, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee of the telecoms ministry, told the conference that “such an unfriendly bill must be changed.”

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