Friday, June 11, 2021
After facing severe criticism, Federal Energy Minister Hammad Azhar on Friday clarified that Prime Minister Imran Khan and the cabinet "did not approve" a federal excise duty on internet data.
Azhar assured everyone that the duty will not be included in the final draft of the Finance Bill that has been put before the parliament for approval.
"The PM and Cabinet did not approve the FED levy on internet data usage," tweeted the minister.
The minister issued the clarification after the budget documents circulated with the media showed that the government had imposed a Rs1 federal excise duty on mobile phone calls exceeding three minutes.
The proposal also said that Rs0.1 tax per SMS, and Rs5 tax per GB on internet data usage has been proposed.
The budget document said that the proposal was made "to reap reasonable revenue" from the telecom sector.
Azhar's clarification tweet raises the important question why the proposal was included in the documents when it was not approved by the cabinet.
Interestingly, his clarification also came when the government came under fire on social media over the move.