ISLAMABAD: The caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication has conveyed to the Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) that no tax relief is possible as the country is on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme where no such space was available.
Well-placed sources told Business Recorder that the caretaker minister admitted during a meeting with CMOs representatives that telecom is heavily taxed, however, the country is on the IMF programme which does not allow such relief.
The CMOs have demanded immediate policy interventions of the caretaker federal government including delinking spectrum price from the dollar, extending license payments over 20 years, suspension of industry contributions to Universal Service Fund and Ignite as well as granting access to industrial electricity tariffs to restore investor confidence and pave the way for future technologies including 5G spectrum auction.
The operators have also demanded that the government revise the Average Revenue per User (ARPU) upward, which is less than one dollar, the lowest in the region. However, the operators were not given any such guarantees, sources added.
The caretaker federal minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr Umar Saif, held a series of meetings with different stakeholders including Chairman Telecom Operators’ Association of Pakistan and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jazz Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Ufone and CEO of Zong separately to discuss reforms of the telecom sector and the timeline for auction of 5G spectrum.
The ministry stated that the purpose of these meetings with the CEOs of the cellular companies was to inform the telecom companies about the preparations for the 5G auction and prepare the market.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023