Sunday Jun 27 2021
Web Desk

Telecom industry lists reasons why govt should reconsider taxing 5-minute calls

Web Desk
— AFP/File
— AFP/File

The telecom industry on Saturday poked holes into the government's plan to tax people whose call duration goes past the five-minute mark.

The government plans on taxing such calls at Rs0.75 per five minutes.

The telecom industry has declared the proposed tax "unworkable" for the following reasons:

  • The move could create problems for 98% of prepaid customers who enjoy bundle offers.
  • New tax could then eventually put an end to bundle offers which are extremely convenient for the public.
  • The tax could entice consumers to cut off calls five minutes earlier and call again.
  • Call cutting will enable the consumers to save themselves from the tax deduction.
  • The government will not get anything if the call is cut off.
  • Additional tax will be a complication for telecom operators and a nuisance for the public.

Minister for Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin while addressing a session of the National Assembly to discuss the budget, said that speaking over a mobile phone for more than five minutes will be taxed at 75 paisas, but there will be no tax on an SMS and mobile internet.

Initially, the Finance Bill 2021-22 had proposed a Re1 tax on each call if the duration exceeds three minutes, Rs5 tax for per GB usage of internet and 10 paisas on each SMS.

However, in a post-budget press conference, Tarin had clarified: "We are not doing it at this point in time."

He said the proposals had been opposed by the prime minister and the federal cabinet.