Ishaq Dar Agrees to Give Tax Relief to Telecom Consumers

Ishaq Dar, Minister of Finance, has agreed to give tax relief to consumers of telecom service in the next budget in response to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) proposal in recent days.

This was stated by PTA chairman Dr. Ismail Shah while talking to media during the 9th International Mobile Commerce Conference 2016, here in Karachi.

The rationalization of taxes on telecom services including internet service is necessary for the telecom sector, not only to ease off burden on customers but to increase the revenues of the government, investors and telecom companies alike.

Shah pointed out that tax relief will be passed on to the customers and telecom companies in the forthcoming budget by the government on the federal and provincial level.

He said that the spectrum demands were discussed with mobile companies for their utilities for next generation technologies, which will be auctioned soon in line with the expectations of the market players.

Mobile phone companies are actively working through banks to achieve financial inclusion for the country. In this regard, branchless banking is being expanded across the country whereas banking through handsets (mobile banking) is being promoted aggressively among the users of telephony services.

He said the telecom authority is working with PEMRA on content development for mobile phone companies and this will lead towards redesigned cable and local channels on mobile phones of the customers.

Ashraf Wathra, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), said that the central bank is working to roll out a mechanism to monitor transactions through branchless banking across the country. In this connection, data of agents, senders and receivers will be updated through a centralized system which will be based on a comprehensive and intuitive software.

The new system will stop illegal use of the branchless banking services across the country hence record keeping of the transactions will be made possible, he added.

He said that the central bank is in the final stages towards the interoperability of branchless banking which will help service providing companies to connect each other to work on a united platform.

The development and innovation in mobile banking and branchless banking will lead towards documentation of the economy. In one quarter of a calendar year, there are more than 100 million transactions made across the country valuing more than Rs 100 billion, he concluded.​