MoITT Pakistan Assure Transparency of 3G Auction
The country’s seemingly endless journey towards acquiring 3G cellphone technology appears to have taken many small steps forward to get the goal. PTA Estimated a license fee of 3G at $300 million each for three licenses and hired reputed international consultants for 3G auction. These 3 consultants had prepared Information Memorandum (IM) for 3G auction.
The Ministry of Information Technology has been running with acting head for several months, in order to introduce 3G spectrum in the country. The seriousness about 3G auction of MoIT has been viewed by its effort and struggle for the 3G auction since the idea of 3G transpired.
Dr.Basit Riaz Shaikh, Advisor to IT and Telecom Ministry, is considered as a well versed technical figure and one of the highly qualified personalities of Pakistan.
Dr. Basit has devoted his services in bringing this needy technology in Pakistan. He has played a vital role in the hiring of the consultants. PTA and Dr. Basit are working hard to give a better technology to the people of Pakistan. He is one of the pioneers in making the dream of 3G come true and he is very much positive about the benefits this technology will bring.
In this critical situation where 3G was just a step away a negative propaganda and baseless allegations to 3G auction has completely baffled the situation.
Dr. Basit and MoIT has responded to this allegation in a very literate manner:
This is in response to various misleading news items that appeared in daily Jang and The News over the last few days to create doubts and suspicions about the fairness of 3G spectrum auction process. It appears that the original purpose of these baseless news items is to create further delay in the said process and to deprive Pakistan of its expected benefits. Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) being a major stakeholder on the said matter wants to present actual picture given below against the allegations made so far in the news items.
Twice this year alone, the process of hiring of internationally reputed consultant(s) to assist PTA in bringing 3G mobile services to Pakistan had to be aborted prematurely as PTA failed to select a consulting firm. The opportunity cost of this delay translates into millions of rupees per day. To prevent further loss to the country, it was proposed in one of the meetings of Auction Supervisory Committee (ASC), formed for the purpose to supervise the auction process in line with MoIT policy directives, that PTA
should hire individual consultants of international repute, for a period of three months, and form an Advisory Group for various tasks. Accordingly, PTA Chairman, by virtue of the administrative power vested in him by the PTA Act, initiated the hiring process of international individual consultants/Advisory Group. From a total of 51 applicants, PTA short-listing/evaluation & selection committee recommended three consultants, who were then hired by PTA Chairman by virtue of administrative powers vested in him under sections 3(8) and 10(2)(c) of the PTA Act and as per the provision of Regulation 115 of PTA Employees Service Regulations 2008.
The hiring process of consultants was transparent, fair and as per rules and regulations. There was no violation of PPRA rules, as the process involved recruitment and not procurement. Moreover, at no point there was any interference by MoIT, its Advisor Dr. Basit Riaz Sheikh, Secretary Mr. Amir Tariq Zaman, or Members Mr. Kamran Ali and Dr. Ismail Shah, in the
process of consultant selection. It is unfortunate to note that at no point any attempt was made by the Jang and The News reporting staff to seek opinion or clarification from MoIT on the utterly baseless allegations.
The consultants hired by PTA are highly reputed international experts in their field with enriched prior spectrum auction experience. Dr. Rob Nicholls with over 30 years of experience has provided spectrum regulatory and valuation advice in auctions that have generated more than $10 billion in licensee fees across Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.
Mr. Martin Sims has extensive experience in designing software for spectrum auctions and has been providing training to regulators and private clients across the globe. Mr. Dennis Ward as Senior Economist and Auctioneer
designed and implemented auctions in Canada raising over $6 Billion in license revenues. As per PTA records, the all-inclusive fee of these consultants sums up to roughly 52 Million rupees as opposed to 700 Million rupees being repeatedly misquoted in various sections of print media. In dollar value, this is less than half of the amount paid in 2004 for soliciting consultancy services on drafting IT policy.
The 3G auction is expected to generate valuable foreign exchange of over one billion dollars in licence fees for Pakistan. It would lead to approximately another one billion dollars in infrastructure development over the next couple of years and create over 40,000 jobs. The President, the Prime minister and the Finance minister have asked PTA and Ministry of IT to ensure maximum transparency. To meet these objectives, an Oversight Committee, comprising representatives from Academia, NAB, Media, and Civil society would be set up. Furthermore, PTA has inked an agreement with Transparency International to act an observer to the 3G auction. The misleading and baseless allegations being levelled in the media are quite contrary to the actual facts and are only damaging country’s national
interest and henceforth, must be discouraged and not promoted.