GAMTEL Owes PURA Over D57 Million Regulatory Fees

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Mr. Paul F Mendy, the Finance Director of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), has disclosed to the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) that the total outstanding arrears of GAMTEL as of 2020, is fifty-seven million three hundred and twenty-four thousand eight hundred and eight dalasi (D57, 324,808.00).

He said this when the Regulatory Institution appeared at the National Assembly before the said Committee for the presentation of its Audited Financial Statements and Activity Reports for scrutiny, consideration and adoption by the Committee.

“The Authority over the years has been trying to engage the main defaulters, which are GAMTEL and NAWEC, to encourage them in the settlement of their arrears and their current invoices. Despite these considerations and engagements, the payment of regulatory fees by GAMTEL and NAWEC has not been encouraging,” he said.

According to him, out of D81.4 Million budgeted for regulatory fees, numbering fees, income, arrears, only D72.4 million was collected; adding that undoubtedly, the non-compliance by GAMTEL and NAWEC has continued to hamper the implementation of some of PURA’s regulatory activities.

He disclosed that the total outstanding arrears of GAMTEL as at 2020, is D57,324,808.00. He further told the committee that the main source of income for the authority is regulatory fees charged to regulate entities. He said the amounts of invoices collected from regulated entities as regulated fees, is based on the annual budget of the authority, which is approved by the Board of Directors.

“The amount collectable as regulated fees is pegged at a maximum of 1.5 percent of the operator’s turnover, which is one of the lowest charged by regulatory authorities in Africa. The ceiling was determined to ensure that the operators do not incur exorbitant regulatory charges, which are passed on to consumers,” he said.

He reported that in 2020, 1.2 percent of the GSM Operators turnaround figure and a fixed amount of D5 million for fixed line operators (GAMTEL), unlike the previous 1.1percent of the turn-up for the telecom operators and the internet providers, which are now, charged 0.6 percent of their turnover.

“PURA, in 2020 charged each operator D1.00 per number assigned. GAMTEL have not paid their numbering fees for 2019 and 2020.Divisions are made because of the authority’s continuous belief in supportive regulation in the sectors, by trying to moderate the cost of regulation for the benefit of the industry as a whole,” he expounded.

PURA’s reports were subsequently adopted by FPAC, after an extensive scrutiny from lawmakers.

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