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Telecom Sector Seeks Relief from Duties

Islamabad: The telecom sector is requesting a tax and duty exemption on the import of telecom equipment in the 2019 budget on the grounds that the pricey imports are impeding the achievement of the government’s Digital Pakistan initiative’s objectives.

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The customs charge on the import of the equipment was 16%, but since additional customs duty of 4% and regulatory duty of 9% were levied, the cost of network equipment for telecom operators climbed significantly.

The high cost of equipment has restricted mobile cellular companies’ expansion ambitions and is also limiting broadband proliferation, one of the major sectors of the current administration.

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The telecommunications sector has requested that SRO 575 be reinstated in order to decrease the customs charge to 5% and abolish extra customs and regulatory duties.

The telecoms have also stated that the GST on services must be lowered since the sales tax, which is a consumption tax, will encourage more people to use telecom services, which will raise tax revenue.

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