Bangladesh’s Supreme Court has ordered Robi Axiata to pay a total of BDT1.38 billion ($16.2 million) to the country’s regulator in five monthly instalments to settle a tax row.
In 2017, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) audited the operator’s finances going back as far as 1996 and concluded that the operator owed BDT8.67 billion in back taxes.
The Supreme Court’s decision to reduce Robi’s payment to just 16% of the total requested follows a similar decision in November 2019 to reduce the tax bill of market leader Grameenphone, which owed BDT126 billion.
While BTRC filed a petition to the Supreme Court that would have enabled it to collect the full amount, an Appellate Division rejected this and the court granted the operator three months to pay the regulator BDT20 billion.
Both operators sought injunctions against the BTRC’s demands for payment via Bangladesh’s High Court. Despite the Supreme Court rulings, the final tax bills have not yet been decided by the country’s courts, with the BTRC viewing these latest payments as a deposit rather than a settling of the bills.