State-owned telecom operators BSNL and MTNL have not cleared payments of network suppliers like Nokia, ZTE and Bharti Infratel. The network suppliers have asked COAI and DoT to intervene in the matter and get their outstanding dues cleared from BSNL and MTNL. The payment of outstanding dues will surely help the network suppliers amid the lockdown period. Since the entire nation is facing the threat of COVID-19, a precautionary lockdown period has been imposed by the government to ensure that people are safe. However, the telecom industry has been facing massive losses because of the lockdown period.
COAI wrote a letter to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash and stated its fear regarding the breach and delay of contracts done by public sector companies. The letter also stated that delays in contractual commitments would affect the business operations carried out in India. Moreover, amid the precautionary lockdown period, delay in outstanding dues will increase tension and hassle for companies who are facing work lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak. Also, COAI stated that they have been supporting public sector companies for uninterrupted services, even in cases of payment defaults, reported ET Telecom.
Though BSNL cleared a part of its outstanding dues back in 2019, the state-owned telecom operator still have to clear whopping amount of outstanding dues towards telecom equipment and network manufactures, infrastructure and providers. As per Rajan S Mathews, who is the Director General of COAI, the state-owned telecom operators have to pay approximately Rs 20,000 crore towards outstanding dues. However, Mathews also said that companies have been facing a cash crunch situation from a prolonged period which led to non-payment of outstanding dues.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, every industry functioning around the globe is facing financial operations. In such times if the government partially pays outstanding dues to the much-affected companies, it will ensure their survival amid the precautionary lockdown period. Also, the partial payment of outstanding dues will relief the affected companies and ensure full clearance of dues soon.