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Technology

Google app payments: IT ministry says issue resolved

  • SBP, finance and IT ministries to formulate joint plan for future during the month
Published December 1, 2022
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The government has moved to resolve the Google payments' issue, and "directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to delay its policy on Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) for one month", said the Ministry of IT & Telecom in a statement on Thursday.

The DCB is, in general, an online mobile payment method, which allows users to make purchases by charging payments to their mobile phone carrier bill.

In a statement, the IT ministry said that the Ministry of Finance has agreed to the proposal of Federal Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque with regard to coming up with an effective mechanism and making payments against Google App services.

Haque said, after the agreement, payments will be made to Google as per schedule and all its application services will remain intact, added the statement.

Moreover, the federal minister said that the SBP had been directed to delay the implementation of its DCB policy for one month.

The statement comes after it was widely reported that certain payments to Google have been suspended and Pakistani users would be deprived of Play Store services from December 1. However, the reports were countered by the SBP which said it revoked the designation of banks of telcos for such payments in “view of the violation of foreign exchange regulations”.

“During recent off-site reviews, it was observed that in addition to utilising the mechanism to remit funds for IT-related services for their own use, telcos were remitting bulk of the funds for video gaming, entertainment content, etc., purchased by their customers using airtime, under Direct Carrier Billing (DCB),” the SBP said in a statement on Saturday.

The SBP added that telcos were allowing their customers to purchase these products through airtime and then remitting funds abroad reflecting such transactions as payments for acquisition of IT related services.

“Thus, in effect, the telcos were acting as intermediaries/ payment aggregators by facilitating acquisition of services by their subscribers. Therefore, in view of the violation of foreign exchange regulations, SBP revoked the designation of banks of telcos for such payments. However, to facilitate their legitimate IT-related payments, telcos have been advised, through their banks, to resubmit their requests.”

It said if an entity, including a telco, intends to operate as an intermediary/ payment aggregator and such arrangement involves outflow of foreign exchange, it has to approach the central bank, separately through its bank, for seeking special permission for providing such services.

Meanwhile, the IT and Telecom minister on Thursday said that telecom operators have been given a one-month time to implement payment procedures. During this period, the Ministry of IT, Finance and the SBP would formulate a joint plan of action for the way forward.

"On request of the telecom operators for assistance, a letter was written to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to make the payments and formulate a time frame," said Haque.

The minister further expressed gratitude to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Bajwa for the timely decision on the issue.

Earlier, SBP spokesperson Abid Qamar had told Business Recorder that the central bank remains engaged with the industry on this issue, and it would be resolved.


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Mushtaque Ahmed Dec 01, 2022 07:56pm
@Ch K A Nye , And it becomes part of the food chain eventually harmful for humans too. As per reports the intervention of US ambassador in the matter is of concern.
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