Telecom: IT minister allays industry’s fears over Universal Services Fund

Published: July 5, 2013

Minister assures telecom sector fund will not be used to pay off circular debt. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

The Federal Ministry for Information Technology assured the telecom sector that the Rs50 billion ‘Universal Services Fund’ will not be used to resolve circular debt, following which industry members took back a court case against the ministry in the even of such an action.

According to sources in the telecommunication industry, Federal Minister for information Technology Anoosha Rehman re-assured the telecommunication agency about the fund, and informed them that the money deposited into the fund will be used for its intended purpose in the Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunications sector and related fields, and allayed fears over diversion of the money to pay the circular debt.

According to sources the federal ministry decided to gather the amount, which till now was deposited in different amounts, and place it in the State Bank to allow for better management of the fund and ease of access.

The Universal Services Fund was established in 2006 as a public-private partnership under the Ministry of IT, and is overseen by the Universal Services Fund Board which has representatives from both the government and the industry. The fund is used to sponsor development projects brought forward by the telecommunications sector.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2013.

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