Amended bill to tackle grey traffic agreed upon

Ministry of IT, however, wants draft approved by PM Ashraf first.

Our Correspondent November 29, 2012


Agreeing on the proposed procedures for defining and tackling grey traffic in telecommunications, the National Assembly Subcommittee on Information Technology has nearly finalised the proposed amendments in the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Amendment Bill, 2010.

However, one of the stakeholders, the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) wants the draft to be approved by its minister in charge, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, before it is presented to the main NA committee.

“I do not think this is needed. The parliament is the supreme body and [we should] let it decide if the draft needs vetting and approvals from ministers and other bodies,” said MNA Anusha Rehman, who was chairing the NA Subcommittee meeting discussing the amendments proposed by Humayun Saifullah Khan and four other members of the National Assembly.

A representative from the MoIT insisted they were bound by rules to get the approval from PM Ashraf, as the proposed bill was a private members’ bill. “After our minister’s approval the draft should go to the Council of Common Interest (CCI) and then presented in the house,” said the MoIT representative, a member of the ministry’s legal department.

The committee members objected to his point of view, mainly on the grounds that the process would take too much time as it would involve the approval of the prime minister, “Who must be a busy man,” said one of the members.

After deliberations, the subcommittee agreed to send its draft report to the main committee. MNA Rehman asked for the draft report to be sent to her office to present it to the main committee.

Grey Traffic

MNA Saifullah proposed to further clarify the definition of grey traffic in order to include all licensed or unlicensed operators that indulge in originating or terminating international telephony services.

The grey traffic is basically meant to avoid any such taxes, said a representative of the PTA. The committee agreed to incorporate the changes suggested.

PTA members

It was also suggested that the telecom authority will consist of three executive members and five non-executive members. All members will be appointed for a fixed term of four years.

The eligibility of the member’s appointment will be 15 years of service in the telecom, finance or legal domains, with 20 years of experience as exception for the chairman.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2012.


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