The recently imposed 19.5% tax on internet usage by the Punjab government has been removed apparently on the pressure of social media; as right after the imposition of tax many social media analysts (mainly ISPAK and [email protected]) announced digital protest against this tax. The tech bloggers successfully conveyed to the Government about their disagreement on tax imposition through blackout campaign named as ““Don’t tax the internet”.
The Punjab government on May 28, 2015 through an SRO had imposed 19.5pc tax on all kinds of internet usage for those with Rs1,500 or above monthly bills or 2Mbps and above broadband speeds, 3G, 4G, DSL, EVO, fiber etc.
Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha on Friday announced withdrawal of tax on internet services in her budget 2015-16 speech in the Punjab Assembly.
The cellular mobile operators (CMOs) had also supported to the digital media protest on the basis that the tax would harm the present 3G/4G uptake that has reached almost 15 million subscriptions in just one year of launch. The CMO’s explained that:[pull_quote_center]“The Punjab government is likely to collect Rs3 billion in taxes from the sector this year, however, corresponding negative growth on internet uptake due to these taxes will cause the national economy an estimated loss of up to Rs200 billion in five years.”[/pull_quote_center]
Mr. Sohaib Sheikh, the President of Information Communication and Technology Think Tank (ICT3) also welcomed the decision of Punjab government. He said that:[pull_quote_center]“Revoking 19.5pc tax on internet services showed that the government had given due respect to the digital community and telecom sector. The Punjab government will witness the data growth momentum in days to come since the fear is over after this tax being revoked.”[/pull_quote_center]
Mr Sheikh further said that:[pull_quote_center]“There was a need to reduce the tax burden on fast-growing, high-potential sectors like telecom and ICT to give them the freedom to grow faster, enrich the economy with healthy revenue-streams and create new employment opportunities.”[/pull_quote_center]
It is a great achievement for all tech-portals who for the first time in Pakistan convinced the Government and made it realized about its potential. Withdrawal of internet tax will soon result in increased internet subscribers which will eventually boost our national economy as well.