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.