PPPP Senator Trashes MoIT’s Draft on Competition Rules for Telecom Industry

Former Finance Minister, PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said that “After failing to bring the Regulators under the ministries Federal Government is now trying to amend laws for Telecom operators to escape from the Competition Regulators”.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said that “Initially Federal Government tried to bring all Regulators under their parent ministries but the Senate of Pakistan and the Lahore High court has struck down this effort, now the Federal Government is trying to amend the telecom regulations so that telecom sector is taken out of the competition laws and from the ambit of Regulators”.

Since 2015, the Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) are endeavoring to make competition rules specific to the telecommunication sector, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla added.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said that “MOIT and PTA intend to gain powers to allow cartel-like arrangements between the telecom companies, which under no circumstances can be authorized”.

For example, under the telecom competition rules, operators will be able to agree to fix prices and have cartel arrangements with the prior approval of PTA, He added.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said that “In the presence of a fully-functional, national competition authority i.e. CCP, the intention of MOIT and PTA to frame competition rules of their own to regulate the sector will negate the Competition Act”.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said that “If sanctioned by the Federal Government, the new regime will not only create hindrances for the CCP to enforce competition law but create legal uncertainty, and waste of national resources. This is an attempt to weaken the enforcement of the already existing competition laws on the telecom companies. No where in the world have such rules been made which clearly appears to be for the benefit of vested interests”