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Spy outfit wants a slice of USF pie in Bangladesh

Despite opposition from ITU, the industry and the lawmakers, Bangladeshi bureaucrats have succeeded to stage a legislative coupe for amending the telecoms law in 2010. As a result, whatever little authority Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had been enjoying was hijacked by the telecoms ministry. Regulatory environment of Bangladesh went back to the Stone Age. A rouge kitty (USF), in disguise of Social Obligation Fund (SOF), was also cunningly inserted in the amended telecoms law.

Moreover, the government keeps violating this law while extorting the industry since November 2011 in the name of SOF. Until September 2013, the authorities have illegally amassed in excess of 3 billion taka (US$ 43 million) for SOF. Now, the National Telecom Monitoring Cell (NTMC) of ministry of home affairs is demanding a fair share of the booty. The NSA-equivalent in Bangladesh has primarily asked for 600 million taka ($7.73 million) from the illegitimate Social Obligation Fund “to maintain state discipline and social responsibility.” The spy outfit also expressed its desire to participate in the management of SOF. Full report is here.

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