ISLAMABAD: The capital administration has allowed the mobile banking merchants to operate for another five days up to Tuesday April 7.

Last Monday, The administration had lifted restrictions on shops that operate online payment services.

The extension has been made keeping in view the difficulties faced by the government employees and the private sector workers as the operational time was limited to three hours only from 12 noon to 4 pm.

The earlier directive made on March 30 expired on April 2, but the deputy commissioner office received a large number of requests from that government employees especially those executing security and law and order duties saying that they were unable to take time to visit the mobile banking merchant as they were operating only for three hours.

“There are a number of police personnel who belonged to other provinces, similarly rangers and even some army personnel remit money to their families in native areas at the start of every month,” said an officer of the ICT administration.

The notification for the extension of this service has also allowed the money changers as well as the mobile banking merchants to operate their businesses at usual working hours from 9am to 8pm.

There are around 900 micro banking merchants of mobile companies belonging to Easypaisa, U-paisa, Jazz Cash and other online payment services in Islamabad.

Apart from remitting money the other issue faced by the residents due to market closures, was recharging their internet and mobile phone accounts.

A recent report by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) highlights that the internet traffic has increased by more than 15pc since the markets have been closed.

“The internet and mobile usage has increased not only due to online classes and work from home scenario but also because thousands of shopkeepers and their employees, auto mechanics, etc., have nothing to do but to keep themselves busy on internet,” said an executive of a mobile phone company.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020