ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication on Friday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to provide province-wise details of income generated by the major telecom companies during the last one decade.
With Senator Kauda Babar as chairperson, the meeting was held at the Parliament House. The issues taken up pertained to the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, and the details regarding revenue generated by telecom companies in the past 10 years.
The question was raised by Senator Kamran Murtaza regarding the year-wise details of funds available to the Universal Service Fund (USF) since its inception and those lying with the Ministry of Finance.
The parliamentary body was seeking details of the revenue generated by four telecom companies: Ufone, Jazz, Telenor and Zong.
Personal Data Protection bill still needs more vetting, committee told
Taking into account the incidents of riots on May 9 following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan, the members noted that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had made the decision to amend the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, with the objective of enhancing the national security of the country.
Discussing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, the meeting was informed about the technicalities involved and the reasoning required more time for vetting.
The Ministry of Law was of the view that the document may be reviewed in light of Article 74 of the Constitution. Consequently, the Senate body directed the ministry to return to the committee after fulfilling all procedural formalities within 15 days.
During the meeting, members demanded a review of the details regarding the revenue generated by telecom companies in the last ten years and the funds allocated towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). They emphasised that telecom companies should prioritise vulnerable groups in their CSR programmes, particularly in the areas of health and education.
Members of the committee asserted that a framework must be developed by the ministry in this regard.
As the committee tasked the PTA with providing province-wise details of the income generated by telecom companies, committee members also suggested that, for further clarity on the issue, other stakeholders in the market should be summoned for the next meeting.
Published in Dawn, May 27TH, 2023