As a developing nation, cell phones and mobile internet is an important tool to reduce poverty in Pakistan therefore policymakers should consider providing relief to telecom industry reeling under heavy taxation. For this purpose, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) also focused on the same issue and said that taxes on telecom sector should be reduced in order to increase cellular penetration in the country. Around 75 percent population in SAARC region was using mobile phones except Nepal where 82 percent population was subscribing the service, said ICCI President Atif Ikram Sheikh.
He also said that:
“Pakistan lagged behind in financial outreach as only 10.30 percent population had a bank account while the SAARC average stands at 33 percent and average of other developing nations is at 41 percent.”
He added that:
“There were 130 million mobile subscribers in Pakistan out of which around 18 million were using mobile internet. The unbanked could be reached and provided financial services if the telecom and internet taxes were reduced as the services of microfinance sector leaves much to be desired.”
Chairman Coordination FPCCI Malik Sohail on this occasion said that:
“According to the figures released by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the contribution of telecom industry under the head of sales tax had been reduced to 45.8 billion rupees in 2014-15 as compared to Rs 60.1 billion in 2013.14.”