ISLAMABAD - The government in a short span of time has started a number of projects and achieved many targets including 3G/4G auction that is going to create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities in the market, said Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif while addressing a licence-issuing ceremony for 3G/4G successful bidders here on Thursday.
The PM said it was the PML-N that laid optic fiber cable network in the country and now again it was the same party that had launched next generation mobile services in the country. Apart from creating new jobs, launching of 3G/4G would benefit the government in terms of Rs 260 billion taxes per year.
"The government is working on strong economic policies, which would lead the country towards stability, progress and prosperity," the premier said. The prime minister also claimed that the inflation had been brought down to single digit.
He said it was very important that the reach of broadband services should be affordable to masses. However, he stressed the need of having a set of guidelines for provision of quality services while providing level playing field for all stake-holders.
PM said the government was not only focusing on projects but also working on eradication of corruption from the society along with fighting against terrorism.
"Pakistan today has come way ahead from where it was on June 5, 2013," he further said. Measures have been taken by the government to manage shattered economy, laid foundation for new development projects, restored confidence of the local and foreign investors and improve efficiency of various departments.
He further said that various projects had been initiated to meet the energy shortfall including the 2,200 MW power plant in Karachi, 10 coal-fired power plants at Gaddani, 1,320 MW plant at Port Qasim, another 1,320 MW power plant at Jamshoro and a record time completion of 450 MW Nandipur project. He said the long term power projects included Diamir Bhasha, Dasu and Bunji dams.
The prime minister said the Khunjerab to Gwadar Highway and Rs 160 billion development package for Gwadar, including a modern airport would ensure that the pace of development was on upward trajectory and the economy was on right track. The credible financial institutions of the country were also acknowledging the positive results of improvement in national economy as the foreign exchange reserves were increasing and the pace of progress in the industrial sector was increased by 5.2 percent, Nawaz added.
Again mentioning the achievements of his government he said inflow of the foreign remittances had gone up.
Earlier in the ceremony, the government and the successful bidders signed the licencing agreements. PTA Chairman Dr Ismail Shah signed the agreements on behalf of the government while CEO Mobilink Rashid Khan, CEO Ufone Abdul Aziz Khan, CEO of CMPak Fan Yun Jun and Chief Corporate Affairs of Telenor Aslam Hayat represented their respective companies.
Addressing the ceremony, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said 3G/4G would open new avenues of socio-economic development in the country. He said Rs 50 billion was budgeted in 2010, Rs 75 billion in 2011 and Rs 79 billion in 2012, however the spectrum could not auctioned. The incumbent government budgeted Rs 120 billion in the budget for 2013-14 after professionally studying the auction process and fetched Rs 122 billion including 10 percent tax while two licences were kept with the government for new entrants. He said government would auction these two licences on proper time.
The finance minister said that country’s economy was improving with four percent plus GDP growth and would touch 7 percent during next four years. He further said that the country’s credibility was also improving and the international community was considering it a good market for investment. He further said that government would consider and facilitate telecom sector's proposals in the upcoming budget by rationalising taxes.
Dar said two successful bidders including Zong and Mobilink had made full payment while two operators including Telenor and Ufone paid 50 percent of the winning bid amount and the remaining 50 percent would be paid with markup @ Libor + 3% in equal annual installments over a period of 5 years.