On Thursday, the Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that it had no mechanism to block any usage of prohibited frequency but the security and intelligence agencies have the requisite capability to block any frequency used in broadcasting illegal radio stations.
PTA to Recover Rs 42 billion from Telecom Companies
The PAC meeting was headed by Sardar Aashiq Gopang, who chaired the meeting in the absence of chairman Syed Khursheed Shah. Audit paras of the Cabinet Division with regard to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for the year 2013-14 were observed during the meeting.
The reply came from the official of the FAB to a query of the PAC member Dr Azra Fazal, who asked why the PTA did not block the frequency to broadcast the illegal radio. The official informed that the board only terminates the licence of those who illicitly use frequency and impose penalties but do not have the facility to block the frequencies.
Audit officials informed the PAC that PTA had to recuperate Rs 41.708 billion from various mobile phone companies and telecom companies out of which some companies had packed up their business and are not traceable now. It was revealed during the meeting that Rs 34 billion were recoverable from seven operators and M/s Instaphone was the main debtor owing Rs 22 billion while the left over amount of Rs 7 billion was recoverable from 175 operators.
Giving details, the audit officials told the PAC that:
- M/s Instaphone owes Rs 22.13 billion
- M/s telecard 3.25 billion
- M/s Worldcall Telecom Rs2.8 billion
- M/s PTCL Rs1.71 billion
- M/s Dencom Pakistan Rs1.65 billion
- M/s DV Com Data Rs1.59 billion
- M/s Great Bear Rs714.45 million
The management of the PTA replied that the major part of outstanding dues against M/s Instaphone was subjudice in the court and the case was further adjourned on December 8, 2015. They also told the PAC that M/s Dancom, recovery petition has been filed and the PTA takes up the matter with tehsildar for authorized proceedings, M/s DV Com Data, the lincesee has paid basic amount of Rs 1.42 billion on April 28, 2015, though late payment is subjudice and M/s Great Bear, International, recovery petition for Rs 1.083 billion was filed dated February 22, 2014.
Dr Azra Fazal member of PAC saw that there is variance of Rs 35 billion in the funds of the USF and PTA stats. Chairman PTA briefed the committee that the telecom companies have deposited Rs 31 billion in the USF.