ECC Finally Approves First Draft of Telecom Policy 2015
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Friday approved Telecom Policy 2015. The previous five years’ policy was formulated in 2003 and was due to be reviewed in 2008. However, due to lack of interest from the previous government, the telecom policy went into the background.
The ECC met with Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, on Friday to consider the draft Telecom policy submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology.
According to the Ministry spokesperson, the new policy is market-driven, having appropriate regulation, accelerated digitization, universal access, Spectrum, regulatory framework for VoIP and Over the Top (OTT) services, public Wi-Fi hot spots for commercial use.
It is worth mentioning here that just like other policies, the Telecommunication Policy is supposed to get a review every five years according to the need and requirements of the situation but unfortunately, previous governments failed to pay adequate attention to this sector. However, as soon as the incumbent government came into power, it started the process of reviewing and integrating Telecom policies which is nearing completion.
After two years of efforts of the Ministry of Information Technology, a draft of the telecom policy was finally prepared in consultation with all stakeholders and presented before the ECC, which was approved here on Friday.
About three months ago, owing to the vague targets and goals regarding financing and licensing, the ECC of the Cabinet had rejected Telecom Policy 2015.
Mr. Dar pointed out that a particular section of the policy failed to reflect the structure and layout of tax rationalization framework
It was further observed that the proposed policy was lacking with respect to sum up targets and goals related to financing and licensing, while the distinction between IT and Telecom was also inappropriate as observed by Secretary Finance Division Dr Waqar Masood.
He added that few sections of the draft policy seriously require the suggestions put forward by Finance Division.
Keeping in view the recommendations for reforms, the ECC ordered MoIT, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law and also the Secretary to reconsider the draft policy while giving a deadline of another two weeks to complete the job.