PTA to Recover Rs. 42 Billion from Telecom Operators

The Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) has shown its inability to block any usage of illegal frequency like the one used by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazlullah, however the security and intelligence agencies have the acquired capacity to block any frequency used in broadcasting illegal radio stations.

This was revealed in the Public Accounts committee (PAC) meeting chaired by Sardar Aashiq Gopang.

Member committee Azra Fazal Pechuho asked whether FAB has sufficient equipment to block Maulana Fazlullah using radio frequency. Maulana Fazlullah is famous for his nickname the ‘Radio Mullah’ for his regular radio broadcasts. The official told the committee that the board only cancels the license of those who illegally use frequency and impose heavy penalties but do not have the ability to block the frequencies.

The officials of FAB said Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has the responsibility to block frequencies of telecom services and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is authorized to block illegal broadcasting. However, he said the law enforcement agencies are well equipped to block such illegal broadcasting where law and order are involved.

PTA is owed tens of billions from telecom companies that have winded up their businesses and are untraceable now

PAC was informed that PTA had to recover Rs. 41.708 billion from different mobile phone companies and telecom companies out of which a number of companies had winded up their business and are not traceable now.

The meeting was told that Rs. 34 billion were recoverable from seven operators and M/s Instaphone was the major defaulter owing Rs. 22 billion whereas the remaining amount of Rs. 7 billion was recoverable from 175 operators.

Giving out the details, the audit officials told the PAC that PTA was owed the following amounts from these companies:

  • M/s Instaphone – Rs. 22.13 billion
  • M/s telecard – Rs. 3.25 billion
  • M/s Worldcall Telecom – Rs. 2.8 billion
  • M/s PTCL – Rs. 1.71 billion
  • M/s Dencom – Rs. 1.65 billion
  • M/s DV Com Data – Rs. 1.59 billion
  • M/s Great – Rs. 714.45 million

The management of the PTA replied that the major portion of outstanding dues against M/s Instaphone was subjudice in the court and the case was further adjourned on December 8, 2015, M/s Telecard has deposited Rs. 314.445 million in Escrow account till date as per orders of the Ministry of Information Technology and its case is in the court as whilw while M/s Worldcall has deposited Rs. 333.05 million under Escrow payment account and the matter is still subjudice.

PTCL paid an amount of Rs. 1.87 billion as confirmed by the Ministry of Information Technology letter dated March 16, 2010, however since this amount was paid to the Ministry of Information Technology and PTA considered it as a liability upto 2005 but the matter became subjudice and the licensee prayed that the excess paid for 2004 and 2005 may be adjusted against future liability.

PTA told the PAC that M/s Dancom, recovery petition has been filed and PTA has taken up the matter with tehsildar for legal proceedings, M/s DV Com Data, the lincesee has paid principal amount of Rs. 1.42 billion on April 28, 2015, however, late payment is subjudice and M/s Great Bear International recovery petition for Rs. 1.083 billion was filed dated February 22, 2014.