Thursday, December 17, 2009

Third Party Mobile Banking Regulations: PTA, SBP likely to finalise draft in a month

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ISLAMABAD : Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) are likely to finalise draft of the "Third Party Mobile Banking Regulations" within a month. This was stated by PTA Chairman Dr Muhammad Yaseen, while addressing a joint press conference with Head of Sub-region Gulf and Pakistan Nokia Siemens Network Waqar-ul-Islam, while introducing the 2009 Connectivity Scorecard here on Wednesday.

"The PTA is closely working with the SBP on the draft of the "Third Party Mobile Banking Regulations," which will connect all banks in the country with the cellular mobile operators for mobile transaction," said the PTA Chairman.

He said that the primary objective of these collaborations was to develop a unified regulatory framework to facilitate the telecom customers and banking sector, since the mobile banking involved both financial institutes and mobile phone operators.

Dr Yaseen said that currently Pakistan had overall 63 percent teledensity, while it had great potential for broadband proliferation. "At present, there are around 0.5 million broadband subscribers across the country," he said. Responding to a question about 3G Services, he said that the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoIT & T) was working on the policy for issuing 3G licences. The PTA had completed groundwork and would initiate the licencing process soon after it received policy from the ministry, he said.

Commenting on the study "Connectivity Scorecard 2009" commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks and written by Professor Waverman, fellow of the London Business School and the consulting group LECG, Dr Yaseen said that it was always important to have a reference to measure the growth, performance and to enhance the working strategies of any sector.

Syed Waqarul Islam claimed that the gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by six percent if the Information Communications Technologies (ICT) grew by 10 percent. He said the Connectivity Scorecard 2009, measured the extent to which the governments, businesses and consumers in 50 countries made use of connectivity technologies to enhance economic and social prosperity.

He said the results showed that even the best-connected countries in the world had no reason for complacency when it came to use of the Information Communication Technologies (ICT). "At present, when the governments around the world are looking to boost their economies with a variety of stimulus packages, the Connectivity Scorecard shows that everyone of them, even the most developed, has plenty of room to develop the ICT infrastructure and improve its actual use to develop economy and society," he added.

"Communication networks are of 21st century and these networks are very large construction programmes. There is great potential for them in using the ICT to encourage growth," he said. The Connectivity Scorecard was unique in broadening the definition of connectivity to include not just infrastructure, but also how effectively that infrastructure was being used, he said, adding that this "useful connectivity" measure illuminated the extent to which the countries were harnessing the potential of the ICT.

"The concept of useful connectivity was a reminder that the technology alone will not solve economic or social problems, rather it is a tool that could be used to achieve those aims. Judiciously applied that tool could be extremely powerful and the Connectivity Scorecard acts as an important guide to where and how the countries might apply it to achieve the desired results," said Waqar.

He said the rankings were determined by the measurement of each country by using two criteria - infrastructure and usage skills - in the realms of business and government. Low scores reflected gaps in a country's infrastructure, usage of skills or both, he said.

For each of the six components of the Scorecard, the countries were benchmarked against the best in class in their tier; thus if a country was best in all dimensions, it would score a maximum of 10. The Scorecard, therefore, measured the countries against the best ICT usage that currently existed rather than an ideal model, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Saad Waraich, Afghanistan and Pakistan Country Director, said that the Nokia Siemens Networks had commissioned the study, which was the first of its kind to rank the countries not only on their deployment of the ICT infrastructure, but also on the extent to which people, governments and businesses put this infrastructure to economically productive use.

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