TV licence fee: Service charge a bone of contention between ministries -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

TV licence fee: Service charge a bone of contention between ministries

By Irshad Ansari

ISLAMABAD: Serious differences have developed between the ministry of water and power and the ministry of information and broadcasting over service charges being charged on the collection of TV licence fees.

The current TV licence fee is Rs35 per consumer which Wapda collects along with electricity bills. Wapda also collects Rs5 per consumer as service charge for collecting the fees. The ministry of information and broadcasting has, however, proposed that service charges be reduced from Rs5 to between Rs2 and Rs3 per consumer. It has also sent a summary to the cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) which will consider the proposal in a meeting scheduled for today.

The summary prepared by the information ministry states that the service charge being collected by Wapda is too high and should be reduced. A senior official of the ministry of water and power said that the charge cannot be reduced as the ministry has to allocate a separate staff for accounting the fees. He said that there were other additional charges involved in collecting the TV fees.

The official said that the amount of Rs5 was agreed when the TV fee was Rs25, adding that when the licence fee was raised to Rs35, the service charges should have been revised and raised to Rs7 per consumer. He said that PTV should make its own arrangement to collect the TV fee as Wapda is neither tax collection authority nor is PTV’s fee collection agent.

Sources said that participants of the ECC meeting are also expected to approve the reduction in the prices of locally produced cars and sale of wheat, stored by the government, through Pasco. The meeting will be chaired by Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

Participants of the meeting are expected to consider a proposal on taking back a recent increase in the prices of petroleum products and will consider various options including a scheme of issuing cards for provision of targeted subsidy to people using motorcycles.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:4/11/2011