close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
April 8, 2020

Telecos ask govt to abolish withholding tax on customers

Top Story

April 8, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) have asked the government to abolish withholding tax (WHT) on customers on recharging of their balances and suspend tax on data services by federal and provincial government on temporary basis till the COVID-19 fight continues.

In a joint communication sent out by all CEOs of Jazz, Telenor, Zong and Ufone to federal secretary, Ministry of Information Technology, and its copy also attached to chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), they stated that in order to limit the potential business impact due to decline in revenues during the fight against Covid-19 virus, all CMOs would request for 50 percent reduction in the upcoming payout of their Annual Regulatory Dues (ARDs) to PTA as per their respective cellular mobile licenses.

In a joint letter to the government, they stated that they were faced with an unprecedented situation due to COVID-19 that has now impacted almost all the countries across the globe. As the extent of this pandemic unfolds, governments around the world are scrambling to shut down facilities while simultaneoulsly trying to ensure work from home routines and that the population has online access to remain in touch while maintaining social distancing with access to utility and objects of daily need. Relief packages are being offered in many countries to facilitate their citizens and help different corporate entities/industries navigate through the challenge created by COVID-19 lockdowns and shutdowns.

While appreciating different steps including NADRA extended validity of CNICs expiry dates, reduction in policy rate by the SBP, further incentives offered by the central bank to export oriented sector and incentive based lending, the letter stated the telecom sector is playing a crucial role in mitigating the impact of this pandemic in Pakistan through providing connectivity and digital services required to keep the economy moving. Being the backbone of the newly-emerging economic vitality, stability of the telecom sector is really imperative. The industry, therefore, requests the government to help it continue with the tremendous task of supporting the authorities while also servicing customer needs in this emergency situation

The CMOs have asked for tax relief as its customers are facing difficulties in recharging their balances due to extensive, countrywide lockdowns. Compounding this difficulty is the fact that significant part of the population is struggling to meet their daily requirements. The CMOs demanded of the federal government to abolish the Withholding Tax temporarily as the COVID-19 fight continues. They asked the federal and provincial governments to work together for rationalization of GST at 16 percent on countrywide basis and temporary suspend applicability of taxes on data services by federal and provincial governments.

NADRA charges Rs 23 for CNIC and related data verification through Biometric Verification Service (BVS) and Rs10 on simple biometric verification for all types of SIM sales. The CMOs also complained about delays in launching 3G/4G services in AJK and GB. Finally, the CMOs also demanded 50 percent reduction in Annual Regulatory Dues with immediate effect.