Minister alleges FBR harassing IT, telecom sector

Expresses concern over tax notices issued to companies which may affect exports


Our Correspondent April 01, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq has alleged that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is harassing the IT and telecom sector by sending tax notices, adding that the move may affect export remittances.

Chairing a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on IT, the minister expressed concern over the issuance of tax notices to the IT and telecom sector by the FBR. He said that it was spreading confusion among the industry people and investors, which could affect the process of stabilisation through remittances. In the past, the FBR had sent a notice to Jazz telecom company and even sealed its head office in Islamabad that resulted in a legal battle in the Islamabad High Court.

Reward for best performance

The government has decided to give 5% reward to those IT companies which showed outstanding performance in export remittances. In this regard, the Ministry of IT has moved a summary to the Ministry of Finance for approval.

It was further informed that similarly, the use of locally developed software, reduction in taxes on the IT industry, Personal Data Protection Bill 2020, Pakistan’s first cloud policy and National Cyber Security Policy 2021 were in final stages.

The task force expressed satisfaction over the ministry’s performance in achieving the targets set for digitalisation in the country.

Speaking at the meeting, Haq said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had given the Digital Pakistan vision to the nation, for which heavy responsibilities were laid on the Ministry of IT.

He said that the ministry had been reformed in line with the international standards for the process of digitisation and after constitution of a highly experienced and educated team, it had embarked on the Digital Pakistan vision.

He said that despite difficulties, rapid work was being done in all sectors to bring the country in line with the digital world, while implementation of various policies and projects for the IT and telecom sector would facilitate the process of digitisation and also create employment opportunities.

He was optimistic that economic situation of the country would improve.

Also present in the meeting, IT Member Syed Junaid Imam gave a detailed briefing to the task force on reforms being undertaken in the field of information technology, various policies and approved measures.

Telecom Member Muhammad Omar Malik told the meeting that a notification was issued on March 24 after finalising all the steps of the new mobile spectrum policy following approval of the federal cabinet to reduce the taxes imposed on the telecom sector. A letter has been sent to the FBR for implementation.

Similarly, the cabinet has approved the mobile device manufacturing policy on suggestions of the Ministry of IT.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2021.

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