Telecom Sector to be Given Functional Industry Status

The Ministry of Industry and Production approved the proposal that the telecom sector should be given the functional industry status.

The first meeting of the Committee on Issues of Cellular Mobile Operators was chaired by the Federal Secretary Ministry of IT Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui on Monday.

 The meeting was attended by senior officials from IT Ministry, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry & Development, Federal Revenue Board, PTA, NADRA, and Cellular Mobile Operators.

In line with the Prime Minister’s directives, a Cellular Mobile Operators Issues Committee was created to evaluate the issues and formulate recommendations for submission to the Prime Minister’s Office including resolution of license renewal issues with cellular mobile operators that will assist the government in generating valuable revenue in the current crisis.

Throughout the meeting, discussions were held on issues relating to additional spectrum allocation in Pakistan and AJK & GB mutually agreed on license renewal systems, tax rationalization, right of way (RoW) and reduction of NADRA biometric verification charges.

NADRA was asked to reduce charges for biometric verification of SIM cards, particularly because of this situation occurring in the country after COVID-19. A NADRA official has sought some time with his chairman and board to discuss the matter.

The chairman advised NADRA to release its version by the next week. The Ministry of Industry and Production agreed to the plan to grant the telecommunications sector the status of a functioning industry.

Telecom operators shared their interest in an additional spectrum auction in Pakistan and AJK & GB to promote the quality of mobile broadband services needed to support people, particularly students and professionals, work from home and comply with COVID-19 related consultancy.

The chairperson urged the need for urgent availability of the requisite spectrum in Pakistan and AJK & GB and that the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs & Northern Areas has already been sensitized to take the lead for their respective areas in line with relevant legislation.

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