PTA squanders public money on publicity -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTA squanders public money on publicity

ISLAMABAD: PTA instead of facilitating the Telecom sector that is a source of thousands of jobs under considerably challenging business environment in Pakistan, is hitting its interest by reaching out to operators through advertisements at the expense of public money.

The trend of consumption of public money goes unchecked so far, despite an observation made by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court asking the authorities to give justification of the waste of public spent in advertising the performance. A couple of weeks ago, PTA published an advertising supplement on quality of service of telecom operators which took all and sundry by surprise as the practice itself was not very common in first place.

When contacted PTA spokesman Younus said the supplement published in various newspapers carried awareness messages for the consumers for their awareness regarding different telecom companies operating in the country. “it was a not an advertisement but was supplement. We wanted to create awareness among consumers, he justified.

He further said supplement wasn’t sponsored by any telecom company but PTA from its budget paid for that. He added that the authority has the mandate and allocated budget for such supplements.

Telecom industry experts say a regulatory authority has two functions to perform one is to protect investments of the industry and second is to protect the rights of its consumers and PTA has failed on both accounts by publishing this paid supplement in mass media. By dissecting the performance of its operators in mass media it has not only hampered their business interests but also jeopardised the trust of its consumers over the respective operators.

The huge public money wasted on supplement has become talk of the town as people are surprised how the Authority decided to go ahead with such publication when Supreme Court has also asked the Government to reply within four weeks about who financed an advertisement in print media that detailed the achievements of former Chairman Zarai Taraqqiati Bank Ltd. (ZTBL) Mr. Zaka Ashraf.

It merits mentioning here that on Monday, November 14, ZTBL published an advertisement eulogizing the services and targets achieved by its former head and incumbent Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Zaka Ashraf. On the same day the Chief Justice of the apex court had asked secretary finance to inform the court why the public money had been wasted on the said promotional advertisement.

The industry experts have observed that in a country where power outage is a daily affair, to expect a world class quality of service in an industry that has to service its consumers in every nook and corner of the country, is not fair. Though the telecom try their best to cope up with electricity outage issue but there are situations where ground realities are different. One should monitor the quality of service keeping such realities mind, they concluded.
Source: The Nation
Date:12/2/2011