STAFF REPORT ISB: The government has decided to draft competition rules in an attempt to bar telecom companies from any possible monopolistic practice in the new telecommunication policy 2015.

Officials familiar with the development said that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which has approved the policy in December, has directed the IT ministry to have it vetted by the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division before enforcement.

The ECC specifically directed the ministry to ensure that provisions of para 5.1 of the policy are not in contravention with the Competition Commission Act 2010. It also directed the ministry to review para 5.13 regarding industry status in context of associated fiscal aspects.

Subsequently, the Law, Justice and Human Rights Division had confirmed that the federal government is well within its right to frame the rules regarding competition matters related to telecommunication sector.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is also the chairman of ECC, has recently said that the proposed new telecommunication policy did not clearly reflect the structure of tax rationalisation framework. He was of the view that the classification of telecommunications as an industry would not be appropriate.

The policys objective is allocation and assignment of spectrum to maximise social and economic benefits derived from the use of this scarce resource and a legal and regulatory environment that further promotes the development of efficient markets and that safeguards consumers.

It will ensure available and affordable telephony and universal broadband access to cover undeserved and un-served population.

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