Increase in FED on mobile phone calls to hit the poor the hardest
ISLAMABAD: As the government proposes to increase the mobile phone tax, prepaid customers, especially those who are members of low-income organizations, will be greatly affected by the move.
The finance minister has announced an additional Federal Excise Duty (FED) tax of Rs0.75 “after five minutes” for mobile phones.
The industry has lodged a protest with the government over the proposed tax increase, as the five-minute call it currently needs at about Rs1.97 will be charged at Rs2.72 once the new FED is launched.
Jazz chief executive Aamir Ibrahim has expressed disappointment at the 40 percent drop in prices for customers who do not have a smartphone or WhatsApp dial-up. “I urge the government to repeal this’ anti-poverty tax,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Telecom experts have suggested that the worst hit by the FED on mobile phones will inevitably come from low-income groups such as workers, security guards, security guards, drivers and daily leaders who live far away from their families to earn a living.
Pervez Iftikhar, a consumer rights activist, believes that people in a low-income group should make long phone calls every day to stay in touch with their families living in remote areas.
“These long-distance calls almost daily are important for maintaining a family environment. And the second category of long-distance callers most of whom are mothers who are always in contact with their relatives and female co-workers, “he said, adding that it was natural and” essential for the psychological well-being of people with adequate free time “.
According to PTA data, there are 183 million registered mobile users in the country and 98 million of them use mobile broadband/internet, while 85 million have access to only basic voice calls.
A senior official at one of Pakistan’s four telecommunications companies said the availability of smartphones was a major barrier to lower public access to the Internet. Also, mobile broadband was not available in many remote parts of Pakistan, the official explained.
Published by Tech Team of InstallIntoPC, June 28, 2021