Pemra pleads for granting status of industry to cable TV sector
ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority yesterday asked the federal government to grant status of industry to cable TV sector and allow Tax Holiday to facilitate the cable operators in meeting digitalisation deadline of September 30.
The PEMRA stated in statement, while pleading the much-awaited demand of cable TV operators on both issues. The PEMRA has written two different letters and urged federal government that the cable TV services in Pakistan have attained a significant status in the socio-economic set up of the country. The sector has developed enormously in terms of provision of quality media services, establishing reliable business enterprises and adoption of latest technologies. This multifarious development has generated considerable economic activity and the prospects of further enhancement are markedly visible.
The PEMRA letter highlights that it has more than 4,000 licenced cable TV licencees who are significantly contributing to media growth, investments and employment in Pakistan. The scarcity of funds and market incentive are acting as an impediment in achieving the desired level of development in the cable TV sector.
Adding support for cable TV operators, PEMRA says that there are 74 million cable and satellite viewers and 61 million terrestrial viewers.
According to estimates, a cumulative investment in electronic media sector in Pakistan is $4 billion and direct/indirect employments is 250,000. Introduction of new technologies DTH, IPTV, Mobile TV, Satellite Radio and digitalisation of cable TV will further generate opportunities for investment and employment in the production of set top boxes, digital receivers and allied technologies which makes strong basis to declare the cable TV sector as industry which would enable cable operators to avail short term and long term loaning facilities, import duty exemptions and other allied facilities extended to an “industry”.
In addition to encouraging local and foreign investments, the industry status will also facilitate import as well as manufacturing of better quality equipment at consumer-friendly market prices. These developments will subsequently lead to improvement in quality of the cable TV services at par with the global standards.
Moreover, PEMRA on request of Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (CAP) has requested FBR through federal government for declaring tax holiday/exemption from tax on import of equipment required for digitalisation of cable TV services and set top boxes (STBs). This would facilitate CTV operators to digitalise their respective cable TV services and to meet the international (ITU) commitment. Exemption in taxes/duties on import of such equipment will also reduce the cost of digitalization and its ultimate benefit would be passed on to general public in shape of low prices of digital cable TV services. The said exemptions would also facilitate import of quality equipment at consumer-friendly market prices, says PEMRA.
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