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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided hiring consultancy firm/consultant to carry out study of mobile financial services covering technical, legal, and financial aspects etc. vis-à-vis international best practices in implementation of mobile financial services.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoIT&T) issued a “Policy Directive to Support Technical Implementation of Mobile Banking including Mobile Money Transfers and Remittances” on 20th May, 2008, wherein the PTA was required to implement framework for telecommunication sector development for reaching out with m-banking services through regulations to be framed by the PTA as per details provided in the aforesaid directive.

The regulations are required to govern technical implementation of m-banking systems, through mobile infrastructure of cellular operators facilitating transfers and remittances etc. based on the general and technical parameters set out in the directive.

Accordingly, the PTA in consultation with the State Bank of Pakistan issued the “Regulations for Technical Implementation of Mobile Banking, 2016” (hereinafter referred to as “Mobile Banking Regulations”), which are applicable on all mobile cellular licensees and third-party service providers to offer technical services for mobile banking through service-level agreements with authorised financial institutions by means of the mobile banking models prescribed in the regulations.

Objectives of consultancy is the study of Mobile Financial Services (herein after referred to as "MFS") models in Pakistan covering policy, financial, and technical aspects vis-à-vis international best practices.

The scope of the work will include the following list of tasks: (a) thorough evaluation/assessment of existing regulatory frameworks, vis-à-vis scope of “MFS” in accordance with provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996, and mobile cellular license.

Further, it also involves study of relevant regulations and guidelines issued by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Considering the above, the consultant shall ascertain the followings: (a) Whether existing regulatory frameworks including Regulation of Technical implementation of Mobile Banking 2016 provides sufficient basis for regulating MFS and revenue earned by CMOs; (b) whether the mandate of PTA and State Bank of Pakistan in terms of MFS is distinct or is there any overlap; and (c) Other aspects related to MFS with reference to existing regulatory practices.

Further to review international and regional best practices in application of regulatory requirements on MFS revenue earned by the CMOs.

Further, following will also be considered: (a) Evaluation of different MFS models with respect to regulatory requirements/compliances; (b) International best regulatory practices for MFS including identification/classification of revenues for calculations of regulatory dues/fees/charges etc, by telecom and banking regulators; and (c) GAP analysis with respect to current regulatory frameworks and international best practices. Further to review existing business and technical MFS models being implemented by the CMOs taking into account the followings; (a) Agreements between Financial Institutions and CMOs, (b) Branchless banking arrangements, (c) Standalone arrangements of banks and applicability/relevancy with MFS.

The consultant shall carry out in-depth analysis of the following:

(a) Financial statements of banks, (b) Financial statements of corresponding CMOs including projections of contribution by MFS in future revenue streams, (c) Costing (i.e. direct and indirect costs incurred for the telecom infrastructure and related overheads) and revenue/pricing of MFS for telecom operator and financial institution.

Upon completion of the tasks 1 to 4, the consultant shall identify areas requiring review or modification in prevailing telecom regulations or any related regulations.

Accordingly, the Consultant shall devise recommendations encompassing the way forward including application of Annual Regulatory Dues.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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