Universal Service Funds (USF) funds being spent transparently, Senate told

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ISLAMABAD, July 18 (APP): Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman Khan Monday said that the amount of Universal Service Funds (USF) was being spent under a proper mechanism and the USF board had representation of both public and private sectors.

She was winding debate in the Senate on motion of Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar’s motion regarding spending of money of Universal Service Funds in other heads instead of telecom sector.

The Minister said towers would not be installed under Universal Service Finds on anyone’s recommendation rather it would be installed on merit and where it was required.
She said Rs 20 billion worth projects were in progress under the USF throughout the country and these would be further enhanced.

Earlier, Senator Usman Kakar in his motion said that FATA and Balochistan were the backward areas and were deprived of telecom services resulting in facing of hardships by the people in communication sector.

He was of the view that USF funds were being misused instead of its spending on service to the people. He said the matter should be sent to the Committee.

Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid informed the Senate on Monday that automatic system for tax refund funds had been introduced and 70 percent such cases had been disposed off.

He said the system was being further improved and till June 2016 Rs 33 billion were refunded under the head of sales tax.

He said that the Finance Minister during his budget speech had announced that Rs 37 billion would be refunded by August 31 during the current fiscal year. He said that for manufactures and exporters online verification system had been introduced to reclaim funds.

Discussing the issue being faced by the business community regarding their refunds claims in FBR, Senator Atiq Shaikh said Rs 270 billion refunds reclaim cases were pending and FBR was not implementing order of the finance minister.

Senator Noman Wazir said actual figures should be brought about.Senator Taj Haider alleged claimed refunds were withhold in order to show less budget deficit, which was very misleading.