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Telecom Operators Owe Rs. 26 billion to USF: CEO

Telecom operators owed Rs. 26 billion to Universal Service Fund (USF) for Access Promotion Contribution (APC), the fund’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Riaz Asher Siddiqui revealed yesterday while briefing a sub-committee of the National Assembly’s committee on information technology.

It maybe recalled that mobile cellular operators pay a set amount of APC for every international call to USF, plus 1.5 percent of telco’s yearly revenues also go to USF.

As per Section 3 (4) of the USF rules, 2007, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) monitors and enforces the obligations of the telecom operators to make the USF contributions in a timely and proper manner. Therefore, PTA acts as an agent on behalf of the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) to book receivables and enforce the payment of contributions due from the operators.

Currently, According to Mr. Riaz Asher Siddiqui, outstanding amounts for selected telecom operators is as following:

  • PTCL: Rs 183.39 million,
  • Worldcall: Rs 1.67 billion,
  • Red Tone Rs 3.96 billion,
  • ADG LDI Rs 383.93 million,
  • Wi Tribe Rs 0.35 million
  • Wateen Rs 1.92 billion
  • Telenor Rs 5.47 million.

According to documents provided to the committee, the main reason for the increase in amount of receivables, especially in the case of APC, was because most of the contributors had gone to courts regarding APC contributions, challenging the APC regime. PTA, being the main defendant of all allegations, “is now in litigation against such operators”.

The committee also recommended the CEO of USF to give a report detailing outstanding amount owed by fixed line operators as well as cellular operators, besides showing how much money had been spent under the USF.

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