Irony: Govt Imposes Tax on Internet While PTA Organizes Forum to Boost Broadband

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority yesterday organized a Broadband Forum in collaboration with CISCO Systems. We believe the forum — with the theme of finding out ways and means to truly capitalize on the huge potential of broadband services in Pakistan — was planned well ahead but it was organized right after Punjab government taxed the internet usage.

After the imposition of 19.5% taxes on 3G/4G usage, we believe, all such efforts by sincere and committed people at PTA and CISCO seem useless. Because our political leaders have different plans for the nation.

While it is ironic, but for the reporting purposes, you can find the official PR of the forum below:

Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah was the chief guest at this occasion. Member (Finance) PTA, Mr. Tariq Sultan, Member (Compliance & Enforcement)PTA Mr. Abdul Samad, Member (Telecom), Ministry of IT, Mr. Mudasar Hussain, were also present on the occasion. IT & telecom industry experts, representatives of telecom companies and academia attended the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah highlighted the role of PTA as enabler and facilitator and said that the availability of mobile broadband has opened many doors of opportunities for Pakistan. The high speed internet will revolutionize all other industries in the country in the coming years. Mobile broadband has been introduced in Pakistan through successful auction of 3G and 4G spectrum last year. He said that, it is imperative that the benefits of broadband should reach to the grass root level in the form of e-services e-health, e-education, e-commerce, e-governance etc.

Member (Finance) PTA shared his views on the potential of mobile broadband as enabler for digital financial inclusion. He said that government has made National Financial Inclusion Policy which aims at 50% population of the country will have their digital accounts by 2020. He said that technical regulation for mobile banking are being worked upon by PTA and State Bank. Currently 327 million revenue is coming from mobile segment and it is expected to cross 800 million in future, he added.

PTA_Forum

Member (Compliance & Enforcement)PTA chaired the first session on “Capitalizing on the potential of broadband”. The session was participated by Mr.Wahaj us Siraz, CEO NayaTel, Mr.David Hovey, Specialist, CISCO Systems and Mr.Niaz A.Malik, Chief Corporate Sales, Zong. The panelists discussed the ways and means as to how to capitalize on the potential of broadband in Pakistan. The panelists showed concern over the tax levied by the Punjab Government on the broadband services that will affect their growth. Member (Compliance & Enforcement) highlighted the role of broadband technologies in improving socio-economic condition of the people of Pakistan.

Second session on “Maximizing the Socio-economic Impact of Broadband was chaired by Mr.Mudassaur Hussain, Member (Telecom) Ministry of IT. The panellists included Mr.Muhammad Aslam Hayat, Chief Corporate Affairs and Strategy Officer, Telenor, Ms.Kanwal Bokharey, Senior Economic Growth Advisor, USAID/Pakistan, Dr.Amir Mateen, Grants International. The session was focussed on use of broadband technologies for the uplift of different segments of the society. At the end Chairman PTA presented memento to the participants of the Forum