USF Becomes Non-Functional, No New Projects, No Salaries for Employees for Months!

The Universal Service Fund, which has proved to be the best operating USF in the world and was being used as a benchmark by other countries, is operating without any budget in this fiscal year, resulting no operations and non-payment of salaries to its staff since June 2010.

After recent clash between Mr. Khosa and various IT and Telecom organizations and then his departure as Minister in-charge of MoIT, USF is waiting for its board meeting for budget approvals and decisions on various managerial and operational tasks.

USF’s last board meeting was held on March 31st, 2010, since then organization has become non-functional at all levels.

Just like ICT R&D Fund, USF is waiting for Prime Minister’s nod to resolve administrative issues so that this key organization of telecom industry kicks its operations going.

We have discussed in past on USF’s role for the development of telecom and broadband industry in the country, however, this on-going situation has literally paralyzed the organization with no new projects, audit of on-going projects, assessments, research work and other organizational tasks.

Well placed source at USF confirmed that company has not spent a single rupee since 1st July 2010. Employees are not paid salaries for several months now, while CEO and GMs are paying running-expenses (or call it salaries) to lower staff from their own pockets so that at least they survive in these days of inflation.

This is the limit of destroying an organization that has been allocated a total of Rs. 15.1 billion to spend for enabling telecom services in un-served areas of the country.

As mentioned above, last Board Meeting was held on 31st March in which all other Board Members unanimously proposed to re-employ the current CEO. The Chairman (Minister in-charge) asked to postpone the decision till next Board Meeting, which was never held.

It merits mentioning here that USF operates with the help of 1.5 revenue share given by all cellular companies annually. Moreover, there are billions of Rupees (estimates suggest 25-30 billion rupees) sitting at ministry level under the head of USF, however, they can’t be utilized as budget hasn’t been approved for the company for on-going fiscal year.

It must be noted that all funds are kept by Ministry of IT and are allotted to USF only after approval of (telecom) projects.

Just to give our readers an idea, following are some of key achievements of USF, since its inception:

  • USF was allocated a total of Rs. 15.1 to spend on telecom projects in un-served areas. This could also be more if Board Meetings could be held to approve signing of contracts where open bidding has been completed or where bidding could be initiated – both waiting board approvals.
  • A total fund of Rs. 6.3 billion is allocated for laying of fiber optic throughout the country, connecting all Tehsils.
  • Through USF, telecom services were available to approximately 4.3 million people in 3,400 previously-unserved villages and work is in progress for another 2,700 villages where 2.5 Mil people live.
  • In last three years, USF made broadband services available to 15.5 Million People in urban/semi-urban areas in over 200 cities.
  • Nearly 150,000 customers attained broadband services in more than 200 cities. Note that in these 200+ cities there was no broadband in the beginning of 2009.
  • Under the head of special projects, USF made various services available to 200,000 people through pilot telecenters + many more benefitting through ICT facilities for disabled persons at Shifa Eye International Hospital and Foundation for Fighting Blindness.
  • Telecom companies, with help of USF installed total around 500 cell sites, out of which more than half have been installed and technical audit of 235 has been done

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • This is really sad, Latif Khosa used the typical corrupt political tactics to muscle an upright board into doing his bidding, and when they stood up to his bullying, he opened a false inquiry against them. This current Govt couldn’t give a damn about IT, they can’t even spell the 2 letters. It’s sad that the last remnants of professional achievement are being destroyed.

  • Very Large Fraud has been made with USF Fund by Politicians. no project could be completed properly as yet.

  • Why surprised when everyone knows that this government is willing to bulldoze every good institution whereever they can’t induct 5 times more employees to please their polical support.

  • The Pakistani nation has a potential to face and resolve all its crisis. Looking forward the Media,the MOIT and PTA should come forward and explain to the PM for resolving all administrative issues.Those who are contributing funds to USF should not keep a mum and should speak for spending USF funds in judious way.
    Mr. PM; please act in national interest.If you do not have time please delegate powers to your Secretary.
    Media; Please highlight the issue in national interest with vigor and commitment.

  • Not only USF, ICT R&D Fund has also been on the verge of collapse. About 40 research projects will be doomed and will leave us far behind in technology. Another 600+ researcher/developers and 1500+ kids who are being educated by the Fund are in misery due to personal clashes. No one is bothered to think about this country and its well being. Everyone cares about their own BMWs and Mercs and $$$s.

    I wonder, nobody from Telecom sector is coming forward to save these organization which runs from their funds.

    It is very sad that our country is in danger by its own people. People who are elected by the ‘poors’ of this country do not even wanted to work for these poor people and the country. Thats why we are having clamaties of all kinds and becoming the worst nation of the world. :(..

    May God save Pakistan from all the bad things. ameen

  • If it is just to make the celebrations of unfruitful coerced bids then probably USF Pakistan is doing wonders. In contrary, if you are willing to know the facts and intend to be judicious then please do not forget:
    1. Telecom Deregulation Policy envisaged 25 million mobile subscribers till 2018 while we are touching 100 million subscribers in 2010. 95% population is covered with Mobile cellular networks.Due to fierce competition, operators reached to each nook and corner of the country with the cheapest tariffs in the world. What exactly more we want ? With any definition there is no rational need for USF.
    2. USF is not a concept exclusively introduced by Pakistan. Pakistani policies were tailor made templates which were replicated by international consultants in Pakistan as they were replicated in almost all other countries. But other ppl were not as dumb as we are. They did not start USF operations because they know that competitive telecom sector is achieving the targets by itself. And none of the country in world has adopted Pakistani style USF so far even after observing the working of USF Pakistan for last three years. (So called first model)
    3.USF is operating for last three and a half year and they were able to spend only Rs. 4 billion so far and this spending has been always controversial and suspicious. 35 billion is lying useless against this fund.
    4. And now the most pathetic part; how usf works. Bidds templates made by international consultants are announced. Operators submit their bids. and the only role of USF employees are to open the envelope of those bids and put up to board for approval. from the approved projects monitoring to the technical audit every thing is done by hiring their favorite consultants. And those consultants know the ability of USF staff and cheats them accordingly. They take money from both sides: from operators and from USF and enjoy the exemplary fund. And now just imagine for this task (envelope opening and inviting consultants) what are the compensation for USF employees:

    CEO : getting 18 Lakh rupees per month (Having simple bachelor degree)
    Two GMs: Getting 8 lakh rupees per month (Simple B.Coms)
    Managers : Getting 2.50 lakhs per month

    Now do the just brothers. On one side half of pakistan is submerged in flood, while on the other side Rs. 35 billion public sector money has been reserved for the luxury of USF gang.

    Long Live Pakistan !

  • Dear Brothers,

    Let us not plolitisize the institutions,in most cases we do not know the exact functions and we are dragged away by our political wills and hatreds.We are all Pakistanis and we have to build our nation.Let us say that we have to improve the situation. If some one is getting higher salary or fee that may be reduced but through a propor process. let the Boards of USF and ICT function independently with out twists from the Top.
    Gentleman;one wrong action will harm so much that losses will be manyfold in the time to come.Presently there is high flood situation in Telecoms Sector and all are to be blamed. Putting an advocate as Minister/Advisor of IT&Telecom is definetely not a good governace and management. 1.Can some one responsible rectify the situation?
    2.Those who say that USF and ICT funds are not required simply want to eat this national money by fraud and corruption.
    Good luck Pakistan

  • Agreed ! Public money should be spent on Public not on thugs.

    The people who closely know the working of USF will agree that above description is word by word true. By the way do you guys really believe that there is any need of USF ? Have we not achieved the maximum in terms of coverage ?. Can not we cover the meager gaps by obligating the operators ? And last but not the least, what is vital for flood effected areas; a broadband connection or a roof to live under ? Donot forget that Pakistan could not attract a relief fund of Worth 1 Billion USD so far from international community, while half billion USD is lying useless in USF and R&D Fund. Choice is urz !

  • I need badly student package in Jhelum city. USF package should started in every cities in Pakistan.

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