Federal Minister for Information Technology & telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haq along with several members of the Prime Minister Imran’s cabinet opposed the 75 paisa tax on mobile calls that exceed five minutes period and vowed to get it reversed.
Minister Amin ul Haq shared this news while attending a contract-signing ceremony between the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Jazz for rendering high-speed mobile broadband services in the Multan and Khanewal districts of Punjab.
IT Minister opposes additional tax on Phone calls longer than 5 Minutes
The federal minister provided assurance to the telecom industry that he is negotiating with the government to get the voice call tax reversed as it has a negative effect on the common man and industry as well. The Minister said,
In the cabinet meeting on June 11 prior to budget, when the slide containing proposed tax on mobile calls and data was displayed, the Ministry of IT and Telecom openly objected to it and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar openly supported the ministry’s stance. The prime minister referred it to Finance Division and it was withdrawn.
Furthermore, he said that unfortunately, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin while addressing parliament announced 75 paisa tax on calls exceeding five minutes. In response, he said,
In principle, I disagreed. I had courage to say this, and discussed the matter with the prime minister. We will discuss this matter and will try to withdraw this tax.
Initially, the government of Pakistan had announced that in order to generate revenue from this sector, federal excise duty on mobile phone calls exceeding three minutes at Re1 per call, SMS messages at Rs0.1 per SMS, and internet data usage at Rs5 per was proposed, however, it was abolished because of severe criticism.
The government’s decision to put an additional 75 paisa tax after five minutes on a phone call is estimated to generate additional revenue of Rs 20 to 30 billion. However, the federal minister for IT along with other cabinet members oppose an additional tax on Phone calls.