Islamabad - Requesting Competition Commission of Pakistan to intervene, Pakistan Computer Association (PCA) has alleged that small computer vendors have been subjected to discriminatory treatment, which is eventually forcing them out of the business due to the abuse of dominance by big players.

According to the officials, the association has requested CCP to invoke provisions of the Competition Act to investigate deliberate attempts of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), for imposing type approval condition on import of IT equipment, from PTA office, which is only creating unnecessary hurdles and restrictions, and ultimately hindering business of small computer vendor industry. Munawar Iqbal, Chairman PCA, said that small vendors of computer industry were facing lengthy and cumbersome documentation procedures, which was impossible to carry out in a given time frame. He said big firms were obtaining the approvals immediately, from the PTA for import of specific products, while small vendors were running pillar and post to fulfill the requirements.

The association stated that IT vendors were facing serious problems in clearance of the imported terminal equipments/products at the hands of customs officials who are demanding PTA type approval from importers.

The PTA authorities have asked the FBR to ensure that only terminal equipment having PTA type approval are sold in the market pretending the sale of imported substandard telecom equipment in the market as hazardous to the health and loss to the exchequer.

The computer equipment including PCs, servers, laptops and tablets, imported by several computer vendors are stuck up at various ports of Pakistan after a newly introduced condition of “Type Approval” by PTA, which according to the association is a lengthy process and requires various kind of reports from the manufacturer and inspection from third party, which are further delayed by the red tape. According to association officials, custom authorities are blocking shipments of networking switches, routers, adapters, servers and other products at Karachi Air Freight Unit (KAFU), while these products are commonly used products in offices, houses.

On the request of PTA, FBR is reportedly not allowing import of terminal equipment without the PTA approval.

According to the PTA list, wireless modules of tablet PCs, servers, laptops; wireless access point; tablet PC having Wi-Fi and Blue Tooth; Wi-Fi terminal; blue tooth devices including tablet PCs mobile phone etc; IP phone except for call centres; satellite terminal devices; vehicle tracking system; vehicle security devices; fax data modem with WiFi, NFC; wireless radio trans/recover sets; fixed wireless terminal; WiMax terminal; PABX/IP-PBX (for each additional 100 lines); RFIDs; mobile phone handsets; VoIP terminal equipment (gateways access points) and broadband terminal equipment, can only be imported after approval from the authority.

PTA spokesman Khurram Ali Mehran rejected the association claim saying that PTA was approving all cases on strict merit.