Govt Shouldn’t Hold Us Hostage For Its Non-Filer Issue: Telecom Industry

The Telecom Operators Association has expressed serious concerns over the coalition government’s budget proposals for 2024-25, warning that increased taxes will drive foreign investment out of the country.

In a letter to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, Telecom companies also raised concerns over the Income Tax General Order which demanded telcos to block SIMs of non-filers. The letter pointed out that the telecom sector should not be held responsible for the tax issues of non-filers.

The association warned that the telecom sector is already suffering and the proposed measures in the new budget would be things much worse. It said implementing the new Finance Bill proposals would devastate an already struggling industry. Last year, the telecom sector contributed Rs. 340 billion to tax collection and has received direct investments totaling $15 billion to date.

The association warned that the new budget would undermine the Digital Pakistan initiative. One significant issue highlighted in the letter was the 75 percent advance tax recovery from non-filers, which the association deemed unfeasible. The decision, they argued, would result in a loss of revenue for both the telecom sector and the government.

The letter also argued that increasing the sales tax rate on mobile phones worth up to $500 would negatively impact lower-income groups. The Telecom Operators Association has requested a meeting with chairman finance committee Senator Saleem Mandviwala to present their concerns in detail and seek a resolution that would protect the industry.

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