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SLT embarks on FTTH extension vendor financing

Amidst protests of trade unions, Sri Lanka Telecom is hurriedly embarking on a vendor financing project aimed at further extending the previous Rajapaksa regime’s accelerated FTTH programme, the country’s first fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband service initiative.

The vendor financing agreement is to be signed (or has been already signed as per certain reports) with international vendor firms Huawei, ZTE and Nokia (Alcatel), the former handlers of the FTTH programme at a financing cost of Rs 69 billion.

This money should have to be repaid by SLT in three years in US$ terms with accumulated inters and dollar depreciation under the vendor financing agreement, Telecommunication Engineers Union (TEU) said.

It has been planned to provide 160,000 fibre loops under this FTTH extension programme, TEU revealed. ,

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is now initiating long term financial agreements to implement artificially built-up or massive scale projects with investments running up to billions of rupees in a hurry on the eve of upcoming presidential elections, SLT engineers alleged.

This money spending spree of vendor financing initiatives will impact the company bottom line and will eventually lead towards curtailing benefits of employees, Telecommunication Engineers Union (TEU) said.

SLT trade unions will lodge a complaint at the National Election Commission urging them to inquire into this matter and suspend vendor financing Projects which will be used as cover up for siphoning money to sponsor fvourite candidate of SLT top management.  

In a letter of protest, TEU stated that at a time of elections where the people of the country including the pubic and private sectors are adopting a wait and see stance, SLT is venturing into mega projects unrealistically.

The TEU has sent this letter to the President, Prime Minister, Finance Minister and other relevant authorities focusing their attention on money spending attempts of the top management of the company.

TEU has urged the current SLT board of directors to suspend unrealistic vendor financing initiatives aimed at siphoning money for election propaganda activities and leave the decision for funding of mega projects to a new board which will be appointed after elections following the normal procedure.

Another demand of TEU is to desist from entering into any agreements on any vendor financing projects or long term investments during the presidential election period.

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