ISLAMABAD: On 5th July, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has requested the government to eliminate taxes charged on voice calls.
A group of delegates from the cellular service provider businesses visited the chamber and met the ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan to make a request regarding the removal of taxes on voice calls.
The delegates communicated concerns about the 75 paisa tax levy on voice calls in the budget of 2021 to 2022 that surpasses a time limit of five minutes. The tax will lead the charge of a five-minute call to Rs 2.7 from Rs1.9.
The delegates emphasize that this increase will affect the business of Telephone companies, and produce a severe financial strain on customers. The delegates asked the government to drop this tax to evade telcos and consumers from the rising price of calls.
The delegation consisted of the chief commercial officer of jazz, named Asif Aziz, Bilal Khan who is the deputy director of financial control of Zong, Bilal Maroof from Telenor, Naveed Khalid Butt who is the group chief regulatory officer of Ufone, and plenty of other well-known personalities. Fatma Azim who is the ICCI senior vice president, Abdul Rehman Khan, the vice president, and the previous president Ejaz Abbasi were also present in the meeting.
In the meeting, the delegates stated that the tax was authorized without discussing it with stakeholders. They continued the conversation by mentioning that the proposed tax is not applicable as the charging arrangement is not straight and is centered on packaged offers to aid prepaid consumers who make up for 98 percent of the total cellular subscribers in Pakistan.
The delegates added that the tax will ultimately negatively impact prepaid packages, which are widely used and appreciated by low-income households. To exercise the tax, the voice and hybrid bundles will have to be removed to and the present telecom service design will be hindered, the delegates evaluated. They continued by explaining that joining such usage based taxes has not been executed up till now and it is almost next to improbable to implement these alterations in the current billing operations of telcos.
Mr. Khan, addressing the delegation, announced that the current administration was determined to develop the digital economy. However, such taxes would generate obstacles in obtaining the goals. The most noticeable effect will be on the lowest part of the community, and they cannot make WhatsApp calls, he added on.
He concluded that approximately 85 million people in Pakistan are operating 2G qualified feature telephones and have no entry to the internet. The consumers will immediately acquire the knowledge to redial before the 5-minute time limit to evade the price of the proposed levy. Therefore, delegations bring nothing to the government but add complications for the telecom businesses and workers, leading to extensive bother to telecom consumers.