The Heads and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the major Telecom Companies called on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani at the PM’s House today and apprised him that the telecom sector was contributing about Rs. 110 billion in the national exchequer as tax and was providing jobs opportunities to millions of young Pakistanis directly and indirectly. They informed the Prime Minister that the total foreign investment in the telecom sector was $10 billion.
The Prime Minister said that it was encouraging that Telecom Operators were focusing on the delivery of value added services and mobile banking, adding that government was committed to provide enabling environment for the introduction of latest technologies in the field.
The Prime Minister said that government would ensure fair competition in the auction of 3G spectrum technology in a transparent manner.
The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue to hold meetings with Telecom Companies and rationalize the tax regime keeping in view the interests of the industry and the consumers at the same time.
The Prime Minister directed the relevant authorities to address the security concerns of the telecom companies, which were undertaking the expansion programmes in various regions of the country. It was agreed that telecom companies would raise a professionally equipped specialized security force to protect the telecom operators and the installations. The Ministry of Interior will facilitate the import of scanners and other related equipment for this purpose.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, assured the Telecom Companies that a mutually acceptable formula would be worked out keeping in view the commercial considerations of the industry as well as the imperatives of the telecom market in a competitive environment.
In response to the demand for grant of status of industry to the telecom sector, it was agreed that IT Ministry would hold consultations with the CEOs of telecom companies and other stakeholders to address the issue.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Interior Senator A Rehman Malik, Secretaries of Interior and IT, Chairman PTA, CEOs of PTCL, Mobililink, Zong, Ufone, Telenor, and Warid and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.