Thursday September 28, 2023

Call to slash duty on mobile phones in new budget

Duty on cellphones will be significantly reduced in the budget 2023-24

May 29, 2023
Random mobile phones. The News/File
Random mobile phones. The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The duty on cellphones will be significantly reduced in the budget 2023-24. Previously, the government was obliged to raise the duty on cellphone by 100 to 150 percent and resultantly only Rs5 billion to Rs10 billion are being deposited in the national kitty instead of Rs85 billion.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is considering the suggestions of Pakistan Mobile Phone Traders Association and could make them part of the budget. The number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has exceeded 18 crore and 69 lakh. In order to cope with the financial crisis of current financial year, in the new budget a proposal of conspicuous reduction in the rates of duties in cellular phones is under consideration, which is about 100 percent to 150 percent at present on small and big mobile phones. The mobile industry is at the brink of collapse due to increase in taxes. It not only affected traders but also made the life of millions of people difficult to earn livelihood.

It has been learnt that a delegation of Mobile Phones Traders Association has given recommendation to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior officials on the occasion of budget and the delegation was ensured that efforts would be made to include the recommendations of the delegation in the budget. These proposals and recommendations are being reviewed to make them a part of the new budget.

It has been learnt that 75 percent duty was imposed on cellular phones in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region like Singapore, Bangladesh and Turkey where it is not at that level. That is the reason people are using smart phones without paying duties in connivance with FBR.

The additional 100 to 150 percent duty on cell phone has made it out of reach of poor, labourers, daily wagers, students, professionals, lawyer community and civil society. General Secretary of All Pakistan Mobile Phones Traders Association Munir Beg Mirza said that due to ban on import of used mobile phones, smuggling of mobile phone is increasing in order to give favour to a few companies. Also people are using smart phones illegally without paying heavy tax to enjoy all functions of smart phones, which is inflicting a loss on national kitty.

He said that not only every consumer would pay tax but also the government would get Rs100 billion instead of Rs5 billion on phones, if an appropriate duty was imposed in the new financial year.