Islamabad: The government has reconstituted a committee on renewal of telecom companies ‘licenses headed by Minister for Information Technology (IT) Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
This committee will deal with the specific case of policy directive for renewal of licenses of cellular mobile licenses in 2019.Earlier, Asad Umar was heading the committee. However, after his removal, the government has reconstituted a committee and IT minister is heading it to deal with issue of renewal of licenses of telecom companies.
PTA had hired WRAP International for proposing a framework for the renewal of cellular licenses of telecom companies through a transparent bidding process prescribed under the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules. However, consultant could not conduct a study to establish a framework due to change of government to renew licenses of telecom firms.
PTA had given licenses to telecom companies including Telenor, Warid and Zong for 15 years and these were going to expire on May 25, 2019. Under PPRA rules, the PTA is bound to conduct a study to establish a policy framework for conducting bidding for the renewal of telecom companies’ licenses.
However, JAAZ Pakistan has moved a petition in Islamabad High Court now to renew licesen at old rate of US$291 million. However, Frequency Aviation Board has termed a white collar crime if licenses are renewed at old rates.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is already launched investigation against Anusha Rahman, former Minister for Information Technology (IT), Ishaq Dar, former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to management following alleged illegal award of contract of the Next Generation Mobile Services NGMS (3G/4G).
Earlier, Ministry of Information and Technology (IT) had submitted two proposals to the government. It said that the government after due consideration, may like not to issue a policy directive under section 8 of the act and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority shall renew the licenses under section 5(2) (a) of the act since there being no mandatory requirement of a policy directive by the federal government.
In second proposal, ministry of information technology suggested that federal government after due consideration may issue a policy directive in view of the recommendations of PTA duty recommended by the Technical committee and directions of Inter-ministerial committee in terms of section 8(1) read with sections 8(2) and 22(3) of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (Re-Organization) Act 1996. However, government did not approve any proposal and formed a committee to deal with case of renewing licenses of telecom companies.