Chief Financial Officer of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), Yog Mahadeo, has refuted the contents of an article carried in Wednesday’s edition of the Kaieteur News, which stated among other things that the GT&T made $9B in profit in the last year.
“It’s blatant lies and it is coming out at a time when we feel that the timing is amazing, because everyone feels that they can beat up on GT&T.”
The article contends that GT&T has announced that it made $9 billion profit in the last operating year 2007/2008.
Mahadeo responded that 2008 is not completed so nothing has been announced for the year.
He added that in the income statement of GT&T’s annual report, it shows that for 2007, the company made $3.9B profit.
“We never made $9B profit in our history. It’s totally wrong.”
According to Mahadeo, at the same time one would appreciate that a company has to operate to make a profit.
“We operate on a triple front basically. We are a fully audited company. GT&T is one of the few companies, if not the only company, in Guyana that is audited as per hour. Local regulations are audited as per international regulations because our company is traded by ATN (Atlantic Tele Network) on the stock market and also we are audited under the Sarbanes-Oxley law which is a US law that audits not only your financials and your income statement, but also audits the process that allows you to create the financials. So, on those three fronts, we are proud to say that our accounts are always clean and are thoroughly audited.”
He pointed out that no one is analyzing how much money GT&T pays out in taxes and how much the company is contributing to the development of the country.
Mahadeo said that profits in 2007 was $3.9B while Corporation Tax was also $3.9B, capital expenditure was $6B. GT&T paid dividends of $1.5B to the government, $2.5B in PAYE, 1.5B was collected and paid over in Value Added Tax (VAT), and more than $300M was spent on licensing fees and frequency fees and other such things.
“Now when you add those figures up and you take it out from our earnings you’ll see what is remaining and when you look at those figures and you analyse them you see how much contribution GT&T is making to Guyana…We are proud of our contributions and we will continue to make our contributions. We are a company that operates within the laws of Guyana and we will pay all our taxes.”
The article also says that the GRA has announced that it lost revenue due to GT&T. In this regard, Mahadeo said that the statement is a ‘total fabrication.’
“I think the measures that GT&T has started to put in place for the collection of taxes and so forth on all the illegal voids that have been taken place, we should be praised for it because we are putting measures in place that will not allow for taxes to be collected and paid over to the government. We don’t collect it and keep it. Then every dollar we make we pay corporation tax on.”
The article also says that Guyana’s overseas telephone rates are among the highest in the world, but Mahadeo said that it is not so.
“I think somebody is either myopic or they don’t know how to use a calculator, but GT&T with the lowest landline rates in the world…here it is that GT&T is trying to give an international promotion with approximately 80 percent off on overseas calls and we were stopped.”
He told this newspaper that the company went to the Public Utilities Commission for permission to bring lower rates to Guyana, but the authorities listened to Digicel and ordered the company to stop the promotion. “So when we could have given lower rates to this country we were stopped from doing it.”
Mahadeo noted that the article has hurt the employees of the company. According to him, it is not about money and it is not about profits, but GT&T’s 700 employees work hard to provide valuable service to the country.
The article also mentions advisory fees.
Mahadeo said that over the years this advisory fee has been worked into the contract with the government and there is good reason why it is contracted.
He added that GT&T did not have the expertise to do all the things that needed to be done and needed overseas help.
“When GT&T came to this country there was no mobile, there was (limited) landline; we did it first, where would the expertise come from to do it, so we depended on our parent company (ATN) to provide that kind of expertise.”
He pointed out that currently GT&T is considering building another cable to Guyana that would bring cheap bandwidth to everybody and the entire process is driven by ATN. “How else would we do it?”
According to him, they (ATN) provide the suppliers, contractors, people to negotiate and advise.
“GT&T has nothing to hide.”
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