Monday, May 25, 2009

PTA chief hints tax cut for telecoms

PTA has suggested the FBR to slash the taxes imposed on telecom sector from 21 per cent to 16 per cent.
ISLAMABAD: Telecom industry would hear a 'good news' in the upcoming budget as the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has recommended the federal government to curb tax ratio on the telecom sector to bring the sector at par with other sectors.
These views were expressed by Dr Muhammad Yaseen, Chairman PTA, while sharing views with media here at a local hotel after a telecom seminar held in connection with the World Telecom Day. He said heavy taxation had adversely affected the telecom growth, seeing which PTA has suggested the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to slash the taxes imposed on telecom sector from 21 per cent to 16 per cent.
When asked whether the management of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) had informed about their step to reduce the timeline for broadband dialup, the PTA chairman said there was no decrease and if the media had any evidence, it should submit it to him and he would look into the matter.
The chairman said PTA had introduced so many steps to help grow the telecom sector and these were being hailed by the nations across the globe. "However, due to joint efforts, the fourth quarter saw a positive growth, making the annual growth positive," he added. "We have introduced mobile banking and now working on mobile agriculture and other new initiatives," he said, adding that the companies should also opt for 'out-of-box' solutions to enhance telecom growth. "There are countries with more than 100 per cent teledensity and we would have to search for new opportunities to take the telecom sector ahead," he added. Urging the telecom sector to focus on broadband services, Dr Yaseen said PTA had developed broadband group and three companies including Wateen and Mobilink were set to launch Wimax solutions for the consumers. While speaking at Nokia Siemens Networks Industry seminar as the chief guest, the Chairman PTA said to achieve cost efficiency in the operations, there is a pressing need of enhanced collaboration and partnership among all telecom companies. "By sharing infrastructure, companies can save cost and yet maintain quality. PTA is pursuing mobile operators for sharing infrastructure to reduce BTS towers and other sites so that costs of business can be tamed down," said the PTA Chief.
He emphasised on the importance of broadband proliferation to achieve goal of setting up `Information Society'. He said that massive awareness campaign is needed to be launched to improve broadband growth besides developing contents in local languages and applications.
Dr Yaseen said PTA has made coordinated efforts to facilitate broadband growth by forming a "Broadband Stakeholders Group" and other measures. He also told about PTA negotiations with State Bank to introduce Mobile Banking Services.
He said that three operators are in the process of launching mobile broadband services. Two operators have launched E-video services. All these innovative services will help provisioning of better information services to consumers and will bring increased revenues for the industry.
On this occasion, CEO USF Parvaiz Iftikhar, Salman Ansari, Saad Warraich, Country Director Nokia Siemens Networks and others also shared their views.

Source - daily times

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