ISLAMABAD - Ministry of IT on Thursday claimed that around Rs. 2 billion revenue loss due to International Clearing House policy has been mostly restored.

In October, legal international incoming traffic has increased from 375 million minutes less per month to 1.57 billion, said Ministry of IT officials, while answering questions of National Assembly Standing Committee on IT.

Under ICH all international traffic was terminated through PTCL and revenues were shared by 14 LDI operators based on their pre-ICH market share.

State Minister for IT Anusha Rehman informed the committee that after the withdrawal of ICH and de-regulation of the market, call rates decreased which resulted in low margins, however white trafficking increased.

“The rates of incoming international calls have now reduced from 8.8 US cents/mm to 1.2 US cents/mm, resulting in eradication of financial incentive for grey traffickers”, she said.

However she feared that the total recovery of lost revenue would not be possible as much of the international calls have now been made through Skype and other internet based services. “Around 400-500 minutes transferred to OTT may not come into the system again”, she said.

The committee observed that due to use of SIMS in grey trafficking ongoing operation against terrorism was facing difficulties.

It recommended increasing efforts to control grey trafficking and make the operation against terrorists a success.

Chairman PTA said that SIMs being used in fake message with the name of Benazir Income Support Program BISP were being blocked while the CNIC of those numbers were blacklisted. He proposed that charity programme should have a short code through which communication should be done.

Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Akbar Hoti said that a total of 268 FIRs were registered during 2009 to 2015, while 401 suspects were arrested. He said the grey trafficking caused a loss of Rs 3356.886 million to national kitty, however only 29 accused were convicted. He said FIA was now concentrating more on terrorism financing.