The news that has come out recently about Airtel's proposal to buy up the rest of the shares from Dhabi group reminds us how the telecom sector in the country is suffering from a lack of necessary regulations.
While we are not saying that any illegal transactions were carried out by Bharti Airtel, the fact that they were able to utilise loopholes in our tax system to get away with only paying a small fraction of the amount that the government might have collected, had more intelligent regulations been in place, means that we need to rethink the regulations that currently exist.
The government is always complaining about the fact that revenue generation in the public sector is always poor. Yet, we persist with the kind of regulations that allow companies, who are fiscally capable of paying much larger amounts, the freedom to find ways of not doing so.
We cannot blame the companies for taking advantage of these savings – they are in business to maximise profits – but we can certainly find ways to ensure that the dues they pay are accurate reflections of the profit that they enjoy within our borders.
It is time for the government to take necessary actions in this regard. This will mean revisiting current regulations to close loopholes. To do this they must first ensure that agencies are staffed with competent individuals who have the skills necessary to analyse and implement established regulations effectively.
The benefits gained could be enormous in that the taxes collected could be funnelled into building up the infrastructure in the telecom industry, or in other important sectors, and could prove to be very important to the nation's growing economy.