BVI News

TRC owes gov’t $23M! Telecoms regulator has left millions uncollected over 13 years

Failing to submit royalties collected from the four local telecommunication providers in the past 13 years, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) now owes the BVI government approximately $23 million. 

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, Premier Andrew Fahie said the huge debt accumulated under the previous boards and management of the TRC.

He said the TRC collected $25,044,047.60 worth of royalties from the territory’s four telecom providers between 2007 and 2020. However, only about nine percent of that sum was submitted to the government.

“Under the provisions of the Act (Telecommunications Act 2006), the proceeds from the industry levy is supposed to be used by the TRC to fund its operational expenses. The surplus funds, including royalties, should have been paid to the government for deposit into the Consolidated Fund or as directed by the minister,” the Premier explained.

He, however, said nothing was handed over to government, “except for the $2 million that was collected this year and paid over to the government to be allocated towards public road-paving and associated equipment purchases and also towards the East End/Long Look Sewerage Project, along with $250,000 which was paid into the Consolidated Fund some years ago”.

$28 million in uncollected industry levy

The Premier also said the TRC was using the royalties collected to fund the operational expenses of the Commission.

He said there were no surplus monies left over because the Commission had failed to collect in excess of $28 million of industry levy from the telecom providers for more than a decade.

“I am advised [that] the cumulative sum of industry levy that should have been collected from 2007 to the present – for financial year 2006 coming forward annually – is $28,164,438.15,” Fahie stated.

“Of this sum, $4,249,009.12 was billed by the TRC for the current 2019-2020 period and the collection of these funds is underway,” he added.

Telecom providers failing to submit audited statements

Premier Fahie also noted that the TRC was not to be fully blamed for the non-collection of industry levy, as some of the telecom providers obstructed the procedure due to their failure to provide audited financial statements.

“I am advised that the Commission was unable to complete its accounts and have it certified because some licenced operators have not been submitting their audited financial statements to the Commission over the years so that the necessary calculations could be done,” he said.

However, the Finance Minister said the recently-installed TRC Board has indicated that they are seeking legal advice on how to proceed with the collection of the levies owed.

He also said that with the majority of the telecom operators’ licences scheduled to expire in 2022, the TRC is aiming to bring all operators into compliance with all aspects of their license before that date

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22 Comments

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  1. WOW says:

    I have every confidence in this government to get we the people’s money from them crooks.

    Like 16
    Dislike 3
  2. Clearly says:

    Clearly this wasn’t a concern of the past government.

    Like 22
    Dislike 1
  3. People says:

    This is major. We cannot get good cell service and they also have not been paying government what they owe while charging us huge money for poor service.

    Like 42
  4. Who will be fired says:

    For losing 28 million? or are we going to let this one slide?

    Like 22
  5. thing to talk says:

    TRC owe the public millions for allowing the cellphone companies to deliver sheety service for all these years

    Like 30
    Dislike 1
  6. ok says:

    Wonders never cease in the BVI!

    Like 20
  7. Rubber Duck says:

    How much is the BVI going to allow these telecom crooks to rip off from the people of the country. We already have the worlds worst most expensive telecom products and now we find they steal the licenses fees. Outrageous. Who are they paying off to let them get away with this?

    Like 27
    Dislike 1
  8. Haycraft says:

    I need Mr. M***** is custody immediately while investigations are being carried out.

    Like 10
  9. SMH says:

    This is what happens with poor management that doesn’t want to “ROCK THE BOAT”. No fines issued for Non-Compliance and always ready to cast the blame on a board, lawyers or the Ministry. The BVI gave the Local Guy a chance for a decade but yet… Now going to pay more lawyers probably near 7 figures to fix a 10 year error. So far TRC has a perfect record of NEVER winning a court case.

    Like 19
  10. 2007-2011 says:

    Mr. Premier you were in the VIP during these years of VIP power. While we were sitting in traffic jams due to Fraser’s roundabout traffic lights why wasn’t your party collecting the annual royalties from the TRC in 2007, 8, 9, 10 and 11?

    Like 28
    Dislike 7
  11. ... says:

    This is quite baffling. We were making noise for 7.2 mil when 23M+ is owed? Neither is right but Jah man!

    Like 23
    Dislike 1
  12. So?? says:

    …Does this mean TRC has an account somewhere sitting with $20mil +? If not then we have some real questions.

    Like 20
    Dislike 2
  13. Travel Man says:

    Deh M man can’t travel now, so collections should be on the top of the list. Work now, travel later.

    Like 12
  14. Um says:

    Where is the rest of the cash?? There should be millions sitting in a bank account some where – or did it get moved to a offshore private account???

  15. Shaking thy head says:

    $23 Million, terrible service and went overlooked since the BVI Government had such great income all those years.
    Social Security and NHI also looked the other way of businesses not paying for their employees and stealing from them and the Government.
    If, IF this money is collected- either use it to improve our internet systems or give it Immediately back to Social Security, that has become the bank to the country for everything.

    Like 12
  16. admiral says:

    I THINK IT IS TIME TO GET RID OF THE GE*****

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  17. FACTS says:

    Premier we the people are with you and your Government on this one. Don’t let them get away including that l**ng one M@#*$! who is in charge.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  18. Jah Guide says:

    Well at least these companies are consistent. Don’t pay in NHI, social security, payroll tax, TRC levy, etc, etc. And we wonder why the country broke and keep squeezing the little man to generate revenue ie 7% money transfer levy. I’m sure that TRC levy makes up part of our cell/internet bills but they are not remitting to TRC. We lack enforcement in every facet of society. SMDH.

  19. Stupidity says:

    This is the stupidly of Government themselves in the way they set up the so-called liberation of communications. The TRC doesn’t have the setup to monitor and collect because they don’t own the infrastructure like their counterparts everywhere else in the World. It’s ownership of the towers and maintenance, not the telecom businesses and equipment. Stupidity and ineptitude of Government from day one. Now they want to blame the TRC when the Government didn’t set it up properly in the first place.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  20. Cheese Stands Alone says:

    Cut them like how they cut us.business cease temporarily until some form of payment has been paid

  21. Lily Ann says:

    He putting more emphasis in 7mil planes, and hush hush about TRC major outstanding balance … hmm crookie much

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