Grey traffic operators have been earning billions of rupees openly selling their illegal services for over a decade now. As early as 2005/6, the PTA annual report of 2006 reported a loss of approximately Rs. 3 billion during 2005 due to illegal termination of international incoming traffic.
The unchecked greed of grey traffickers is fed at the cost of crippling a legal and licensed industry and more importantly depriving the people and the government of Pakistan of its rightful and much needed foreign exchange earnings for nearly a decade.
The published Mission Statement of the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT – www.moit.gov.pk) reads
“The enabling arm of the Government of Pakistan for planning, coordinating and directing efforts to initiate and launch Information Technology and Telecommunications programs and projects aimed at economic development of the country”.
An industry expert believes, “truthfully, the International Clearing House (ICH) LDI industry coopetition agreement amply supports this mission; therefore,the MoIT can only take the position that ICH is essential for the continuing and future economic development of the country.”
Here are 6 reasons why?
Inflow of one (1) billion US dollars to the country from abroad since ICH began 18 months ago.
Direct taxes paid to the GoP in the amount of 300+ million US dollars
Income taxes paid to the GoP in the amount of PKR 200 million
Record profits for PTCL which receives 50% of ICH revenues and whose largest shareholder is the GoP
Broad participation platform for Pakistanis earning abroad in contributing much needed foreign exchange reserves for Pakistan
A profitable telecom sector remains vibrant and funds continued investment in the sector supporting local economic development.
The ICH is a significant positive contributor to the economy of Pakistan and therefore, the ministry should find ways to support the initiatives of the ICH to stop the illegal activities. Despite the ICH investing more than 30 million US dollars in monitoring equipment over the last 18 months, the illegal grey traffic business flourishes.
“There are just too many loopholes and too much corruption to kill this menace,” the source dilated. “There remains only one solution, increase the Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) that mobile companies receive for terminating international calls (MTRi),” he added.
The LDI body makes a plea to the MoIT, who have rightfully taken note of the tremendous losses Pakistan continues to suffer at the hands of an illegal grey traffic industry, to put an end to this menace by issuing policy directivesto increase the Mobile Termination Rate – International (MTRi).