Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin clarified on Friday that there would be no taxes on Internet and SMS usage, while 75 paisa would be levied in taxes for every cell phone call that exceeds five minutes.
Initially, the finance account proposed a fee of Re1 per call if the duration exceeds three minutes, Rs5 per GB for internet usage, and 10 paisa on each SMS.
However, at a post-budget press conference, Tarin clarified, “We’re not doing that right now.” He said the proposals were opposed by the prime minister and the federal cabinet, so they were “off the table”.
Moreover, blind (who can’ see) cell phone users will have tax exemption on the devices.
This widespread criticism also led Energy Minister Hammad Azhar to deny that additional charges had been imposed on data and telecommunications usage.
“The PM and the Cabinet have not approved the Fed’s fee on Internet data usage. It will not be included in the final draft of the Finance Act (budget) which is submitted to parliament for approval,” he said in a tweet.
During his NA speech, Tarin also announced the reduction and removal of other taxes.
He said the milk tax was removed and 17 percent of the gold and silver tax was reduced to one percent and three percent, respectively.
Moreover, He also announced that taxes initially levied on IT and e-commerce platforms have been withdrawn. He further clarified that no tax was levied on wheat and its derivatives.