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Aryubi says he will resign if fails to bring reforms

Aryubi says he will resign if fails to bring reforms

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On
Mar 26, 2019 - 17:51

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Shahzad Aryubi on Tuesday said efforts were underway to stop the usage of unregistered SIM cards and improve telecom services, pledging to resign if failed to do the mentioned tasks.

The minister’s statement comes following public complaints about poor telecom services and high internet rate through an online campaign.

Aryubi told a press conference here that they were aware of the online campaign and had shared people’s complaints with telecom companies who were given time to bring changes to their policies.

“There is no tolerance after this, no company would be tolerated, if I did not implement these tasks, I will stand resigned,” he said.

Aryubi said the process of collecting unregistered SIM cards had begun and officials in all provinces had been ordered to collect such SIM cards and close branches of telecom companies that violated the rules.

The minister said unregistered SIM cards created security problems and his ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry would take those selling unregistered SIM cards to justice.

He said telecom companies would be first warned and if they continued violations, they would be fined and ultimately their license cancelled if they did not mend their ways.

While providing his ministry’s annual report, Aryubi said currently 23 million people in Afghanistaninfo-icon had access to telecom services. He said over three billion USD had been invested in the country’s telecom sector.

More than nine million people have access to internet and eight million of them lived in urban areas and the rest in rural areas, he added.

Aryubi added 89 percent of the country’s population was currently under the coverage of telecom services and his ministry had the plan to connect 11 percent of the country through VCN and installation of 1,500 telecommunication antennas.

Seven telecom companies including AWCC, Roshan, Etisalat, MTN, Afghan Telecom, Salaam and Wasel Telecom have been offering services in Afghanistan, he said.

He said MCIT had connected 25 provinces of the country through fiber optic service during the last few years and the remaining nine provinces would be connected through the service over the next three years.

In response to a question regarding inability of BUSTOS Company in managing the Real Time Data Management (RTDM) system, he said that the company was chosen after assessment of the National Procurement Commission and a committee had been tasked with evaluating the company’s performance.

The 10 percent tax collection of telecom users law was approved on September 23, 2015. Officials say more than 14 billion afghanis have been collected so far.

On October 14, 2015, the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon suspended the 10 percent tax on mobile phone users until a transparent system for the tax collection was activated but the Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon later approved it.

Later, a joint commission of both the houses approved the draft. But communications commission of the Wolesi Jirga rejected the draft again in 2017.

Non-transparency in the tax collection system is still criticized. But the MCTI has signed the contract of RTDM system of the tax collection with an American company, BUSTOS, for transparency.

mds/ma

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