A recent news in Lahore confirmed that Punjab Government has decided to withdraw taxes imposed on internet. Taxes withdrawals on internet were declared in today’s budget Speech by Dr Ayesha Ghaus, FINANCE Minister Punjab, in Punjab Assembly. She also added that Punjab government has finalized to not to tax internet in the province.
On 28 May 2015, using an SRO Punjab Government had imposed 19.5% taxes. Taxes were applicable on all kinds of data comprising DSL, 3G, 4G, EVDO, WiMAX, FTTH, etc. from May 29th, 2015. It was scared that other provinces can pursue Punjab by TAXING all kinds of internet, including mobile data.
Punjab’s decision for internet taxing met with great criticism through industry and consumers alike. Stakeholders raised different statements against the taxes and concerned the provincial government of the monetary losses that national economy can face because of internet taxes.
Digital publishers also raised voice against the taxes and blacked out their websites in protest against the said TAXES.
Leading websites including UrduPoint.com, Ilmkidunya.com, Siasat.pk, HamariWeb.com, Comics by Arsalan, The News Tribe, Pak Hungama, NetMag, Pakistan Tech News and dozens of other websites and internet celebrities joined the campaign and kept their home-screens black in protest against internet TAXES. All protesting digital publishers and bloggers declared the quick stoppage of black-out campaign.
CHAIRMAN Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Dr. Ismail Shah, also rejected the taxes and played a role in convincing Punjab government for taking back the TAXES.
ICT3, a think tank on telecom, through its president Sohaib Sheikh, also played a vital role in raising the concerns of the industry.
Taxes turnaround on internet will act as a catalyst for internet uptake in the country. No need to declare internet users grew 500% during past one year and this development is likely to sustain for at least next three years.
Punjab decision to take back the internet taxes will discourage any future efforts from federal and other provincial governments for taking the internet.