(QCOSTARICA) Delinquency is a big problem for the state telecom, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), racking up some ¢18 billion colones in “uncollectable” debt from some 220,000 unpaid accounts in mobile telephone, internet and other telecommunications services.
The information was released by the ICE Board of Directors in the circular 0012-353-2016 dated November 8.
The text of the message stays that, despite measures taken, it was not possible to mitigate the delinquency that has continued to increase “administrative costs”. The message says the amount is equivalent to the yearly salary of some 450 employees.
Since the opening of the telecom market in Costa Rica several years back, 2016 is the first year that ICe has not recorded losses in its telecommunications business. The ICE monopoly as the single provided of cellular service in the country ended on November 5, 2011.
To address this management problem, ICE contracted KPMG to perform an external audit recommending on May 30 to outsource collections. The recommendation was to hire a third-party collection company.
However, on October 31, the ICE Board opted, instead of outsourcing to a third party, to create an internal company to deal with judicial and administrative collection for the entire corporation, that includes ICE, Cablevision, Radiográfica Costarricense (Racsa) and the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL).
The collections company will be called ICE Proveeduría Digital S.A. and the 11 employees who now work in ICE’s judicial collection department will be terminated and hired by the new company.
The change means the employees will not longer subject to the ICE employee regulations with respect to salaries, benefits, etc, a move that has been rejected by the ICE trade union, Asociación de Abogados y Profesionales del Grupo ICE (Abogaproice).
The ICE Board letter did not explain who the new company will (basically with the same employees) will be any more effective in collecting delinquent debt.