Instead of Taxing, Pakistan Should Consider Subsidizing Internet: Experts

It is widely accepted across the world that internet penetration directly impacts the economy of a nation. This multiple layered positive impact of internet penetration is a lot higher for growth markets like Pakistan.

With such potential, policy makers should consider subsidizing internet usage in Pakistan — instead of taxing it — where internet penetration is just around 13%, one of the lowest in the world, indicating huge potential for internet uptake in the local market.

“Taxes become an obstacle for people in getting online and inversely impact the economy in the long run”, said Rajnesh Singh, Regional Bureau Director of Internet Society, during a media briefing at three-day long INet Conference in Islamabad.

It must be noted here that Malaysia gives subsidy to its citizens for using internet.

Now is the time for Pakistan to decide if it wants to become a knowledge based economy or it wants to live on taxes forever

The ISOC director emphasized that one should compare that amount of taxes one may generate to the opportunity of lower internet penetration as a result of higher taxes and then they can decide whatever they feel is right for them.

Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, expressed the need for change in perception regarding internet. Internet shouldn’t be marked as a luxury, as it is now being perceived by government people and the policy makers but the fact is that it is a basic human right — in many countries across the world — and it must be taxed/subsidized accordingly.

Experts said that subsidy on internet should be considered as an investment that would reap trickle-down benefits as its ROI at a future time.

“This is just like any other development project, such as Metros for instance, that will cost you money today but will bring you prosperity and well being of citizens one day”. said an expert present at the conference.

When asked that isn’t it being over ambitious to expect subsidy on internet in Pakistan, Rajnesh Singh concluded by saying that governments think of taxes as a form of revenue, but now is the time for policy makers in Pakistan to decide if they want Pakistan to become a knowledge based economy built around digital economy or they want to live on taxes for ever.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • while discussing taxes and other issues, this website and others has always completely ignored issues faced by telecom employees. For example call center employees in telecom companies are getting less than 200$ a month. how would you compare that to rest of world ?

  • Subsidy on Internet is far away and a dream in our country but it would be a blessing if the government just reverts the ganja tax (gunda tax) on Internet.

  • Pakistani Government would like to extract the last drop of blood from its citizens and no future planning to facilitate the nation to develop the growth of GDP. Certainly Internet has become the basic need of all citizens, especially for the students and business men. News is in the pipeline to impose the tax on the parents of the higher education students. Philosophy behind such tax is that the parent which can pay high fees of private colleges & Universities are definitely capable of paying tax but we belief that, parents policy possess much more high aims then the policy makers team of the Government. Parent are planning the future of their children but Government needs only tax from the nation without offering any facility.

    We feel that days are not away when Government will impose
    tax on Mosques, Prayers, madras, sadqat, khairat, Zakat, charities and on the
    peoples going for Hajj & Umra.

    Government must not try to catch the fishes from the urine…………….

    • HAJ & UMRA are already highly TAXED (but not labeled), just compare the cost of UMRA / HAJJ by a Pakistani and other nationals and you will know how much GOVT EARNS.

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