Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was told by PTA that 663,622 personal users registered themselves since February. Out of these 440,821 were registered under FBR baggage rule exemption with no tax, 12,293 were registered under the duty paid category. It was told that that against 5.89 million commercial mobile phone importers in 2016, an increase to 9.27 million commercially imported phones were registered in 2019.
Mobile Phone Registration System Has Become Totally Automated- PTA
The Senate Standing Committee was informed by PTA that the leakage of passenger’s data acquired during the process of mobile registration is being misused with the connivance of travel agents and the data available at the airport. The Committee observed that the system put in place by PTA and FBR is not properly publicized in public and decided to call FBR and FIA in next meeting.
The Committee showed concern that the identity of people is being stolen and mobile phones are being registered especially in the names of children and this should be stopped. The Committee strongly proposed to take further steps in making the system foolproof to ensure data security and making the people aware first and then put such bars on the public. The Committee members remarked that the system was launched to curb smuggling but due to such practices it is creating problems for customers.
The PTA official told the meeting that the mobile phone registration system has become totally automated and the system has been integrated with FBR and is highly secure. The Committee, members asked the PTA to ensure that there should be no inconvenience to consumers. The Committee members said that smuggling is there because there is no mobile phone manufacturing industry in the country and phones are being smuggled in huge numbers.
While discussing the matter of the nominal cost being taken to register the mobile phones and the money not being sent to the state, the mover said that people at local shops are registering phones without following any due process and identity details. Member PTA told the committee that this is occurring as part of the same misuse of passenger’s information which is put in the portal and the phone gets registered. He said that PTA on receiving complaints refers to the inquiry to FIA.
While briefing the Committee on the project of IT park in Islamabad the project director Amir Ahmed told that the proposed IT park will cover 14.9 acres total land area and the total project cost is $88,380,020 only 12 million of which is through PSDP and the rest by EXIM bank funding. The project will complete by 31 August 2022 and will have IT offices, laboratories, incubation centers, academia-industry linkage opportunities as well as will provide space for IT infrastructure to private businesses and new entrepreneurs.
The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Senator Rubina Khalid here at the Parliament House on Wednesday and was attended among others by Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Rukhsana Zuberi, Faisal Javed, Ghous Muhammad Niazi, Abdur Rehman Malik, Mian Ateeq Shaikh, Taj Afridi, Joint Secretary IT Taimur Khan, Member PTA Khawar Siddique.