The National Board of Revenue (NBR)has found gross irregularities in documentations for replacing SIM (subscriber identity module) by the country’s four major mobile phone operators.
An investigation of a committee of the country’s revenue authorities revealed around 79 percent of the documents submitted for replacing SIM do not match with the original Subscriber Application Forms (SAF).
The SIM Card Replacement Review Committee (SCRRC) of the NBR prepared the report after scrutinising the SAF, SIM Registration Form (SRF) and Undertaking Form (UTF) of the operators submitted between August, 2010 and December, 2011. The NBR committee found dissimilarity in subscribers’ name in the related documents submitted by the operators.
The SCRRC was formed to examine the SIM replacement documents of the four operators against the backdrop of the allegation that the operators have dodged taxes of Taka 3,062 crore through selling old SIMs to new clients.
The four operators are — Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel. The SCRRC has found highest 94.79 percent dissimilarity in the documents of market leader Grameenphone. They collected 1,400 samples of Grameenphone where only 5.21 percent or 73 SIM Registration Forms (SRF) or Undertaking Forms (UTF) matched with the given original Subscriber Application Forms (SAF).
Besides, Banglalink has 94.83 percent dissimilarity in the SIM replacement documents. Only 5.17 percent or 62 SRF or UTF matched with the given original SAF from the collected 1,200 samples.
In the case of Robi, the dissimilarity percentage rate was 93.42. Only 6.58 percent or 79 SRF or UTF matched with the given original SAF from the collected 1,200 samples.
On the other hand, Airtel has 29.81 percent dissimilarity in the SIM replacement documents. Nearly 70.19 percent or 770 SRF or UTF matched with the given original SAF from the collected 1,097 samples.
Grameenphone failed to provide any CDR data before 2010, so the committee could not cross- match the data for the period, said the SCRRC report.
It also said Banglalink provided incomplete data of a specific field while Airtel’s CDR failed to provide incoming call record, subscribers’ handset IMIE number and some system logs before the committee.
The NBR has been demanding the amount in tax from Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Airtel since early 2012 claiming that the operators had dodged the taxes through selling old SIMs to new clients.
The mobile companies, however, denied the allegation saying that they did not sell any SIM to new client but replaced the old SIMs for the original customers.
Analysing the documents, the amount of payable tax stood at Taka 3,010 crore from the initial demand for Taka 3,062 crore.
Of the amounts, the NBR demand came down to Taka 1,562 crore from Taka 1,580 crore for Grameenphone, Taka 762 crore from Taka 774 crore for Banglalink, Taka 647 crore from Tk 655 crore for Robi and Taka 39 crore from Taka 52 crore for Airtel.
Currently, the companies pay Taka 300 in tax for each new and replaced SIM. The tax was Taka 600 prior to May of last year.