In the upcoming federal budget for the fiscal year 2023–2024, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is studying measures to lower the tax on mobile phones. On June 9, the budget is anticipated to be made public. The FBR is taking into consideration the recommendations made by mobile phone traders.
Previously, the government was required to increase the tax on mobile phones by 100% to 150%, but this only resulted in a deposit of $5 to $10 billion rather than the anticipated Rs85 billion into the national exchequer.
According to The News, the number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has surpassed 186.9 million. To address the financial crisis of the current fiscal year, the new budget is contemplating a significant reduction in the rates of duties on cellular phones. Currently, the duties on small and big mobile phones stand at approximately 100 per cent to 150 per cent.
Due to the higher levies, the mobile sector is on the edge of collapse. Millions of people who depend on this sector for their source of income face difficulties as a result of this, which doesn’t just affect traders.
According to reports, Ishaq Dar, the finance minister, and other top officials have received proposals from a team from the Mobile Phones Traders Association. The delegation has promised to make an attempt to include these suggestions in the budget. For possible inclusion in the next budget, the suggestions and recommendations are now being evaluated.
It has been discovered that Pakistan places a 75% tariff on mobile phones, in contrast to other nations in the area including Singapore, Bangladesh, and Turkey, where the charge is lower. As a result, in cooperation with the FBR, people have been using smartphones without paying taxes.
The extra 100–150 percent tax on mobile phones has rendered them expensive for the underprivileged, daily wage workers, professionals, students, members of the legal profession, and members of civil society.
The restriction on importing old mobile phones, according to Munir Beg Mirza, general secretary of the All Pakistan Mobile Phones Traders Association, has increased smuggling in order to benefit a select few businesses. Additionally, the national treasury suffers a loss as a result of persons using cellphones illegally and without paying significant taxes.
The government would also get Rs100 billion rather than Rs5 billion in income from phones, he continued, if the proper duty were to be levied in the upcoming fiscal year.