Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), on Wednesday, set “announcement of incentives packages” as a prior condition for bringing mobile manufacturing companies in the country.
Secretary MoITT Maroof Afzal, while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, said that 18 licenses have been issued to mobile assemblers and most of them are stationed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir due to tax holiday facility.
“It is about incentives on the pattern China and India are providing to mobile manufacturers and providing a full-fledged ecosystem to attract manufacturers in the country”, said Member Telecom Modassir Hussain, adding that a shortcut is not a solution to this challenge.
The parliamentary panel met with Rubina Khalid in the chair on Wednesday, where Secretary of the Ministry also recommended for tax rationalization in the mobile sector.
The committee members, as well as ministry officials, were on the same page saying that a mobile phone is no more a luxury but a necessity and government should rationalize the tax structure on the mobile sector.
The committee recommended that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) must revisit its laws regarding this to provide relief to the people. Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh was of the view that since the government lacked a policy for old mobile phones, taxation was not possible.
Senator Fida Muhammad said that this was a major issue and was of grave concern for the people of Pakistan. The committee decided to summon the Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the next meeting with a proposal as the current policy is not working.
The committee was also briefed on the cyber security threats and preparedness as along with the advancement in technology 3G/4G, threats to public life also increase. Committee chairperson stated that cyber-security is an invisible but very dangerous threat in the modern world.
The committee expressed its displeasure on the briefing provided on working paper as it was not updated and was generic in nature. The committee emphasized that cyber security issue was key to the safety of any nation and decided to take a detailed in-camera briefing on this in future meetings.