Finance Minister is urged to Allocate Budget for TeleTalk, the Public Company

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Dhaka, 28th May 2011. Today fifteen civil society organizations leaded by EquityBD has organized a rally in front of national press club and express worries on monopolies of foreign companies in telecommunication sector, they have urged the Finance Minister to announce special allocation for the public company TeleTalk. The fifteen organizations are Arpon, On line Knowldege Centre, Aeso, SDO, MABS, Lead Trust, Prodip, Protikrit, BNNRC, Voice, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somiiti, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Manoush Manusher Jonny, Sirac Bangladesh and ACI. They have mentioned that telecommunication now like a basic human right and it is not a luxury any more, and it is also related to keep state sovereignty and security.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, spoken by Rafiqul Islam Pothik of Protikrit, Zahidul Alam of BNNRC, SM Saikat of Sirac Bangladesh, Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust, Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somiti, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Shipra Rani Das of Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Sayed Aminul Haque and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.

The civil society group has drawn attention of the policy makers through a written statement, the group claim monopoly of foreign companies in telecommunication sector has four major problems, i.e., (i) a huge population now a days dependent on foreign companies for such services, if they stop service for any differences with government, then it will be a big problem and will have devastating effect, (ii) profit bills which have to be send to their country of origin is being paid in dollars, such a repatriation is a threat to dollar reserve of the countries, while we have priority to purchase food and other necessary items from abroad with these reserve, (iii) it is also a threat to the state security while all information being pass through the server of these companies, and moreover (iv) the foreign companies has a tendencies to intervene in our national policy decision through, through their Ambassadors and especially through World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation has mentioned that, foreign direct investment has done hardly any good for any developing countries, so here is a need for good competition for both public and private sector. Zahidul Alam of BNNRC has mentioned that, foreign companies look for profit, while we need to invest in our public company, which should look to minimize growing digital divide. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD has mentioned, as government announced massive plan for Digital Bangladesh in its vision 2021 and Six Five Year Plan then, and if there is no state sponsored infrastructure like Tele Talk mobile network, then whole financial benefit will go to the pockets of foreign mobile companies. Speakers urged Finance Minister to announce plan and allocation in budget 2011 -2012 to strengthen the public company TeleTalk in this regard.

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