Government May Move USF Money to Federal Consolidated Fund

Government of Pakistan is in process of consulting the concerned stakeholders to move the funds lying under the head of Universal Service Fund and Research & Development Fund to Federal Consolidated Fund, told us sources close to the development.

If approved by the government, over 40 billion rupees will be moved from commercial banks to Federal Consolidated Fund.

Unlike recent media reports, industry sources told ProPakistani that government has just discussed the possibilities of moving the money from banks to Federal Consolidated Fund, which means that government will just hold the unused money but USF or R&D will be able to withdraw it whenever they need to.

‘The News’ earlier reported that funds of USF and R&D Fund will be spent for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Negating the media reports, Parvez Iftikhar, CEO Universal Service Fund, confirmed me that government has discussed the possible proposition of moving USF fund to Federal Consolidated Fund, but nothing has been decided in this regard so far. He wasn’t aware of any chances of utilization of this fund for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Officials of cellular companies in their talks with me termed it an impossible thing to happen. They said that cellular companies contribute 1.5 percent of their annual revenues to USF and R&D Fund, i.e. for the development of telecom and technology in the country.

“We contribute money for a purpose which is defined by the act (Telecom Act 1996), there’s no way anyone can use it for any other purpose”, said a high level official of a cellular company.

It merits mentioning here Telecom Act of Pakistan has defined USF and R&D to get 1.5 percent share of annual revenues of all telecom operators. Hence, Rs. 40 billion has been deposited under the account so far, out of which Rs. 10-11 billion has been disbursed till date, while another Rs. 7-8 billion is allocated for several ongoing development projects.

Analysts are fearing that that if Government approves the move, this will lengthen the process of fund disbursement due to necessary procedures involved in the process.

They said that government will be able to use the funds for their functional needs, and may delay the disbursement during the times when government treasury is on low.

Tech and telecom reporter with over 15 years of experience, he works as founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • Zardari team hunting for another possibility to loot the common man. USF is a blessing, I hope cellular companies and media will resist vehemently.

  • All is well that ends in the well…

    This is the failureof USF and has happened else where as well. When accumulation is faster than disbursement it is bound to be questioned and hunted by a gove desparately looking for funds

    • Probably, you would be only person terming USF as failure. Others, have termed it highly successful initiative (perhaps the only one still safe from PPP vultures). The funds are disbursed using auction and proper process takes time. None of the looser in auctions have complained about the process and the net coverage it has already developed is certainly appreciable

      • Dear Copper,

        USF fails if the funds get transfered to FCF.

        USF has done well but in the recent years the auction process has slowed down which is not something desirable.

        Pakistan’s USF has done well but now we need to change the basic design from supply side to deman side for which legislation has to be done.

        Last clarification is that I have no doubt on the competence of USF management but do feel it is limited by the incompetence of the GOP and MoIT.

  • This is the contribution from telecom operators for the purpose of research & development and the purpose of USF is to expansion of telecommunication network by paying this amount to telecom operators. The purpose of this fund is not to increase the popularity of Mr. President, Shaheed Benazir Bhatto, Mr. PM and Pakistan People party. If they want to help the poor people of Pakistan they can generate funds internally without involving funds from other institutions. In Pakistan, a telecommunication sector is still small child.

    Here I would like to humbly request to Government to reduce their expenses and spend money to payment of circular debt to avoid load shedding and other problems of common man and all industries of Pakistan.

  • Our country is facing serious financial issues and all these issues are not because of present government only.The whole nation is corrupt and no body misses any chance to plunder .
    On one end we are against foreign aid (Kashkool Toor doo)and on other does not want to use its underutilized funds (although USF has done a very good job till now).So where this confused lot will end.

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