GOP is withdrawing the facility of registration of one mobile phone on one passport (for international travelers) per year with no tax. According to the sources that the Government has decided to withdraw baggage rule exemption. The decision has been taken to stop the misuse of baggage rule. It will also generate additional revenue. Once the government notifies it then the international travelers will have to pay taxes even if they bring a single mobile phone from abroad
Member Inland Revenue and Policy- Dr. Hamid Ateeq announced during the technical press conference of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on budget 2019-20, that “the baggage facility is being misused and therefore it has been decided to withdraw this facility.”
International travelers will have to Pay Taxes Even if They Bring a Single Mobile Phone
The government’s new initiative i.e. Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) that aims to curtail smuggling of mobile phones is reportedly being misused due to the legalization of smuggled phones through a possible fraud by smugglers mafia at airports and mobile markets.
Misuse of data is being done in violation of FBR baggage rule law where user credentials including passport and CNIC are being used for getting registration under FBR baggage rule exemption.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has confirmed that leakage of passenger’s data was used for illegal registration of mobile devices (through DIRBS) with the connivance of travel agents and the data available at airports. However, all such people can be traced out and they could be tried under the PECA law which could be up to 7-year imprisonment or Rs. 10 Million fine or both.
PTA has sent around 760 cases of data theft to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and several arrests have been made so far and there is a dire need to ensure that International travelers data is protected by the law enforcement agencies.
It was also observed that mobile phones are also being registered in the names of children. The system was launched to curb smuggling but it needs to be adopted and enforced to ensure that customers rights are protected.
According to PTA data over 663,622 individual users registered themselves with DIRBS since February, 2019. Out of these 440,821 were registered under FBR baggage rule exemption with no tax, 12,293 were registered under the duty paid category.
Recommended Reading: FIA Crackdown in Karachi & Gujranwala-More Arrest on Illegal Mobile Registration