ISLAMABAD: Amid concerns by telecom companies and consumers, the finance ministry has agreed to delay the suspension of the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) system, IT Minister Syed Aminul Haque said on Thursday.

Under the DCB, users could make international payments directly through their mobile networks, making paid media services and mobile gaming more accessible to customers, especially those without a bank account or credit card.

“The Ministry of Finance has agreed to a proposal of Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque with regard to evolving an effective mechanism and making payment against the Google App services,” said a tweet posted on the IT ministry’s official account.

The State Bank has been directed to delay the implementation of the Direct Carrier Billing policy for one month, he added.

IT minister says SBP, finance ministry will work out a mechanism in one month

After receiving complaints from IT service providers, telecom companies and Pakistan Software Houses Association, the IT and telecommunication minister took up the matter with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last week.

After the mechanism, payments would be made to Google as per the schedule and all its applications will work in the country, the minister added. According to the minister, telecom operators have been given a month to implement payment procedures.

The finance and IT ministries and the SBP will formulate a plan after consultation, he added.

Meanwhile, Jazz CEO, Aamir Hafeez, has appreciated the decision, hoping that the matter would be resolved “for the benefit of consumers”.

Last month, it was reported that the central bank has decided to withdraw the DCB and directed telecom companies to process all such payments through credit or debit cards in an attempt to stem the dollar’s outflow.

The SBP reportedly revoked a payment of $34m to international service providers to limit dollar outflow, ensuing a tug-of-war with the IT sector.

Since then, it was being reported that applications downloaded from Google’s PlayStore will stop working in the country from Dec 1. However, the SBP, in a statement last week dismissed the reports as “baseless and misleading”.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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