IT standing committee members say government should end taxes on cellphones carried from abroad.
ISLAMABAD: PayPal will not be coming to Pakistan regardless of the government’s efforts to persuade the American company, which operates a worldwide online payment system that supports online money transfers, to introduce its services in the country.
Ministry of Information Technology Secretary Maroof Afzal told the Senate Standing Committee on IT “PayPal did not decline because it has issues operating in Pakistan. Their internal working is such that they are not ready to introduce services in Pakistan.”
The committee met for a briefing on the IT ministry’s Universal Service Fund (USF), which is assumed to be used to introduce telecommunications and broadband services to un-served regions in the country.
Although this matter was not on the meeting’s agenda, committee members have been pushing the ministry to ask PayPal to host services in the country.
IT standing committee members say govt should end taxes on mobile phones brought from abroad.
While Mr Afzal tried to explain why PayPal was not interested in coming to Pakistan, Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh said PayPal is anxious to come to Pakistan unless there are laws to safeguard the company’s interests.
Senator Rehman Malik added: “One case of money laundering could cause major glitches for PayPal. PayPal must have the backing of the government that it can secure the interests of the company.”
In response to a question after the meeting about the new telecom license renewal policy, under which the government is asking Jazz and Telenor for $450 million instead of the previous $291m, IT Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said the new policy has to be executed under the new conditions.
Jazz went to the Islamabad High Court earlier this month pursuing to have the license renewed according to the original terms and the 2015 Telecom Policy. The license was issued for Rs16.8 billion (then equivalent to $291m) in 2004 and is now worth Rs41.4bn ($291m today).
Two other mobile operators, Telenor and Warid – which Jazz later acquired – were issued licenses through an auction in 2004, and both need to be renewed after 15 years.
Both companies argue that the telecom operators are entitled to renew the license at the same dollar price at which it was acquired, saying that it should be done “in an equitable, fair and transparent way”.
Senator Shaikh raised the issue, saying that blocked handsets are being unblocked on the black market for Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000, for mobile phones that would have raised the exchequer more than Rs 30,000.
Committee chair Senator Robina Khalid said, “Travelers from abroad should be allowed to bring more than one handset as a gift.”
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority introduced a Device Identification Registration and Blocking System to restrict the sale and use of fake or insufficient mobile phones.
Since its beginning a year ago, the program has garnered criticism and highlighted queries about its efficiency and the inconvenience it will cause regular consumers.