KARACHI: World Bank (WB) is considering Next Generation Mobile Award (NGMA) in Pakistan as a key economic booster while also anticipated likely unfair competition for some Pakistani products regarding Non Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to India by Pakistan.
Jose Calix WB’s Pakistan Lead Country Economist responding to Daily Times said, “3G/4G services will certainly contribute to increase the amount of telecom services and by the same token, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) value. But, we do have concrete estimates measuring such potential impact”.
The expert said 3G services would contribute to improve not only the coverage but also the quality of communications, which would bring huge benefits to the economy and Pakistanis’ standards of living.
Answering to a query on projected 3G-penetration in Pakistan, the economist said, “Penetration of mobile and telecom services keeps steadily increasing during the last years, despite low education shortcomings in part of its population. As it gets introduced, government and mobile companies have a common interest to jointly define the minimum standards of service delivery”.
WB’s representative during the conversation on World Economic Outlook publicly on Face Book in another reply to public question regarding NDMA to India by Pakistan said, “Main disadvantage for Pakistan is some of its products might suffer from unfair competition from Indian products, unless a mechanism is found to possibilitate a gradual transition and that projected increase of Pakistani exports might not materialise as fast as projected due to still high non-tariff barriers on India’s side (technical standards, visa requirements, etc)”.
However, the expert sharing his information said, “In our knowledge, both governments have been working intensively to find a proper solution. Overall this would be a win-win solution”.
Calix commenting on NDMA said, “The advantages would be increased trade (especially if it favours Pakistani exports), investment (both sides), expansion of services (especially banking and tourism), streamlined transport logistics and the opportunity to also develop integrated value chain production processes, with a view to export to third countries”.
Replying to another query about abysmal tax recovery rate in Pakistan, he said, “We are far from taxing the wealthiest in Pakistan, whereas tax collection is heavily skewed against manufacturing, while most services and agriculture activities remained outside the tax net”.
The tax strategy, recently approved by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Ministry of Finance last February do initial steps in such direction, but the challenge is huge, he added.
And it will require collaboration by provinces as well, as you know well that General Sale Tax (GST) on services is now in their (Pakistan) domain, he commented.
Commenting on Eurobond he said, “Sovereign bonds is one of the healthiest mechanism of external financing for the government. Their proceeds will essentially be used to cover its overall financing needs”.
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