Home » Pakistan, Telecom » PTA Takes Notice of Tax on Incoming Global Calls

pta_pakistanThe Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has taken serious notice of illegal heavy fleecing of the consumers with additional Inland Housing Clearance (IHC) tax by 14 long distance international (LDI) operators over incoming international calls to Pakistan, says a report published in daily The Nation.

Interestingly, the regulatory authority (PTA) has sprung into action after the publication of a news item pertaining a scam involving the illegal imposition of 8.8cents per minute on incoming international calls, in which Ministry of Informational Technology and Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) had seemingly established a ‘typical’ cartel under a special agreement dubbed International Clearing House (ICH) to benefit Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited.

And, this has prompted the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to send notice toPTCL on March 4, 2012 telling it to respond in writing within 7 days of the date of the notice and place before the commission facts and material in support of its contention and to explain why a penalty should not be imposed for its violations. Besides this, the price for making calls to Pakistan has increased significantly, which has and would definitely decrease the volume of international incoming calls per month if it continues playing with the innocent consumers.

PTA has initiated action against 14 LDI operators over illegal collection of 8.8cents per minute from the consumers on incoming international calls. The LDI operators despite the 3rd December 2011 notification of PTA continued fleecing the consumers and successfully collected Rs5billion. And, there is no any mechanism at hand to pay back the illegal collection to the consumers.

“Since there is no mechanism devised by the concerned authorities to pay back the illegal collection from the consumers under head IHC of 8.8cents per minute on incoming international calls to Pakistan so a controversy has emerged about the real ownership of Rs 5 billion heavy amount collected by LDI operators after the notice of PTA, said a senior official, adding, “It will also be a difficult task to be faced by PTA and Information Technology Ministry to determine the real owner of the collected worthy amount.”

It is also learnt that by the ICH agreement, there was no incentive for any LDI (long- distance international) operator to improve sales or enhance quality of service or for that matter to invest in improving its network. Under the ICH regime, PTCL has become the sole LDI operator with the exclusive rights to terminate all incoming traffic to Pakistan while there are 14 companies licenced by PTA to operate as LDI telecommunication service operators. The ministry had mutually allocated quotas and rates for all LDI operators, they added.

It is worth mentioning that the Supreme Court had earlier directed the commission (CCP) to treat writ petition no. 26636/2012, filed by the M/s Brain Telecommunication Limited with the Lahore High Court as under the Competition Act, 2010 and to decide the case within 15 days of the receipt of the order by issuing notice and after hearing all the undertakings concerned and attending to the issues raised in the representation.

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