Vodafone Idea says its AGR dues is less than half of govt estimates

AGR liabilities at Rs 21,533 crore as per self assessment: Vodafone Idea

A visitor walks in a Vodafone store in Bangalore | PTI A visitor walks in a Vodafone store in Bangalore | PTI

After Airtel, now Vodafone Idea's self assessment puts the telecom operator's adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues lower than the estimates of the Department of Telecom (DoT). A beleagured Vodafone Idea on Friday said its AGR liabilities stood at Rs 21,533 crore as per its self assessment, and that the calculation of dues has been filed with the telecom department.

The statement assumes significance as the government has estimated the company's dues at over Rs 53,000 crore, of which it has so far paid only Rs 3,500 crore in two tranches. The AGR liabilities calculated by Vodafone Idea (VIL) are only 41 per cent of the government's assessment. 

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read is currently meeting Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss options to keep VIL afloat. "The self assessment discloses the company's AGR liabilities to aggregate Rs 21,533 crore including a principle amount of Rs 6,854 crore for the period from FY 2006-07 to FY 2018-19 and interest up to February 2020," the company said in a BSE filing. It said the company has filed its self assessment of AGR liabilities with DoT. 

The latest development came as the government on Wednesday asked Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom companies to pay remaining AGR dues as per the Supreme Court order without further delay. The telecom department wrote to all telcos asking them to pay balance dues "without delay" and submit detailed bifurcation of payments (explanation of self-assessed amounts), which it said are necessary for proper reconciliation of legitimate AGR dues. The government has so far received about Rs 26,000 crore from AGR payments, including adhoc/ buffer amounts given by telcos to meet any reconciliation differences with the telecom department. However, the amounts paid by telcos is woefully lower than the DoT's Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculations, prompting the telecom department's latest move.

On Saturday, Airtel said it had adhered to the Supreme Court judgment as it made additional payment of Rs 8,004 crore towards AGR dues. Airtel, which has paid a total of Rs 18,004 crore, said it calculated the liabilities on self assessment basis till December 31, 2019 and the payment includes interest up to February 29, 2020. However, according to DoT estimates, Airtel owed nearly Rs 35,586 crore, including licence fee, spectrum usage charges with interest on unpaid amount, penalty and interest on penalty till July 2019.

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