Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Technology, Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa assured his full support to the telecom industry. He made these remarks in a meeting with a delegation of senior executives of fixed-line telecom operators who called on him here to resolve a long outstanding issue of research and development fund contribution.
The delegation led by Sikandar Naqi, SEVP, PTCL and Wahaj us Siraj, CEO, NayaTel apprised the Adviser that the fixed line telecom operators under their license obligation were required to pay one percent of their gross revenue, as the contribution to ICT R&D Fund to promote within country research in telecom and IT sector.
“The Telecom Deregulation Policy approved by Cabinet in July 2003 had a clause of offering equal treatment to fixed line and mobile operators for percentage contribution to R&D Fund but mobile operators were being charged a lower rate, 0.5 percent. The Federal Cabinet finally removed this anomaly in November 2009 but telecom operators believe that this policy should have been implemented retrospectively, i.e, from the date of approval of mobile policy in 2004,” the delegation maintained.
The Adviser noted that telecom industry needed to be supported in all respects so that stagnancy of last couple of years of the sector can be removed and growth is stimulated. This can only be possible with strong public partnership where the government would act as facilitator and private sector should invest for providing modern telecom services to all areas of Pakistan besides creating employment opportunities.
The Adviser said that the present people’s Government believes in empowering of people and would extend all possible assistance to the industry as contribution towards national development.
The Adviser said that he, being the head of the Ministry, considers himself as father of the telecom family and the family members, the industry players, should work jointly with the family to empower the communities in remote areas and stimulate economic development. He agreed to the existence of anomaly in R&D fund contribution and assured the industry that matter would be placed for cabinet for a revised decision soon.