ISLAMABAD: Divided into two categories, a total of 103 million cellphone SIMs will be verification in phased-wise plan under the National Action Plan aimed at elimination of terrorism from the country. Similarly, the Nadra will charge only Rs10, instead of Rs23 for verification as agreed between the Ministry of Interior, Telcos and other stakeholders.
The decision was decided at a high level meeting chaired by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar here.
The meeting also contemplated taking stringent measures for provision of security to telcos.
On the occasion, Mobile Operators and other participants put forth their views on the time limit for re-verification process. Representatives of various mobile phone companies apprised the meeting of difficulties they were facing regarding the re-verification process which is part of the National Action Plan aimed at eliminating terrorism. They presented their proposals seeking concessions in taxes/charges paid to FBR and Nadra on issuance of SIMs as mandatory under the relevant laws. The representatives also put forth proposals regarding the betterment of the telecom industry which included reduction in overall taxes on the industry from 19.5 percent to 17 percent in anticipation of reduction in revenue due to blockage of SIMs. They also requested for provision of legal cover to guard against litigation from customers, also due to possible blockage of SIMs.
The finance minister agreed in principle to waive of sales tax on replacement of SIMs during the period from January 12 to 28th February, 2015, charged by FBR provided that a proper definition of “Replacement SIM” was arrived at. The finance minister agreed to have further discussion on this aspect on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by Minister of State for IT Anusha Rehman, mobile phone operators, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Ministry of IT, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Interior regarding re-verification of mobile phone SIMs in the country with particular focus on fiscal aspects of the issues faced by the telecom sector.
Ishaq Dar said views expressed by representatives of telecom industry on reduction of taxes would be incorporated in the budgetary proposals for consideration as the budget-making process was about to start. He said the IT/telecom industry was fortunate to have a very pro-active minister who worked whole heartedly for promotion of the industry. He hoped under her leadership that the IT industry would make further headways in time to come.