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Govt agencies owe STC over SR18 billion in unpaid bills

Saudi Arabia, August 8, 2018

Government departments and agencies owe nearly SR19 billion to Saudi Telecom Company by the end of 2017, according to a statement issued by the state-owned telecom giant.

Authorities in the country have set up a committee to study ways and means to tackle the issue while the General Auditing Bureau (GAB) wanted an explanation from STC for the huge amount of unpaid bills.

A report issued by the company’s general assembly, which met on April 16, said unpaid bills by government departments reached SR22.69 billion by the end of 2017.

“The amount is 35.4 percent more than that of the previous year,” a GAB official told Al-Watan Arabic daily. STC is doubtful whether it will be able to collect at least SR2.74 billion, or 12 percent, of the outstanding dues.

The telecom company wrote off irretrievable dues worth SR133.53 million last year, which is 126 percent more than the previous year.

However, the GAB has asked the company to initiate legal measures to collect the dues.

The STC management told the bureau that most of the defaulters were government departments and agencies. “We have taken measures to collect the dues,” the company said, adding that there had been substantial improvement in collecting dues in recent years.

The GAB official said government departments and agencies owed SR18,822,000,000 to STC by the end of 2017. It demanded clarification from the company on a 50 percent increase in uncollected bills last year.

In response, the company said: “We have exerted all possible efforts in coordination with the Finance Ministry and related departments to collect dues and we are continuing our efforts in this respect.”

The Finance Ministry introduced new measures last year to collect dues from government agencies, the company said, adding that it continued the services to the defaulting government departments. The Finance Ministry itself owes SR7 billion to the company, the report said.

Referring to the issue of the reported increase in outstanding dues by public and private institutions, the company said it conformed to the dues in previous years.