Islamabad – In a move aimed at promoting the information technology (IT) industry in Pakistan, the Prime Minister’s Task Force has proposed the elimination of income tax on internet services.
The objective of this proposal is to foster growth and innovation in the IT sector by reducing the tax burden on internet usage.
The second meeting of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on IT and Telecom was convened, with Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, presiding over the proceedings. During the meeting, a sub-task force focusing on the telecommunications sector highlighted that Pakistan currently has one of the highest telecom tax rates in the world.
As a solution to this issue, it was recommended that the existing 12.5 percent advance income tax on internet services should be reduced to zero. This proposal is intended to make internet access more affordable and accessible for the general population, thereby encouraging greater utilization of IT services.
The meeting also discussed the extensive fiber cable connectivity available in the country, with 1,000 union councils already connected through fiber optic cables. The target is to connect an additional 3,100 union councils with optic fiber cables to expand broadband availability.
Additionally, it was recommended that digital content be developed for all subjects at the school and college levels, and students be provided with IT training to enhance their digital literacy and skills.
Federal Secretary of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Maroof Afzal, was also present at the meeting, along with Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, who serves as the co-chairman of the PM Task Force on IT and Telecom.
The three sub-task forces on IT, Telecom, and Human Resource Development presented recommendations regarding their respective sectors. The sub-task force on IT suggested the establishment of special technology zones in Pakistan to boost IT exports. This initiative is expected to improve the image and growth prospects of the IT industry in the country.
Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman emphasized the need to allocate spectrum resources more effectively and called for the promotion of local manufacturing of products like mobile phones, computers, and laptops. He also advocated for empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the IT sector by creating special technology zones.
The proposal to eliminate income tax on internet services is a significant step towards realizing the full potential of Pakistan’s IT industry. It is expected to stimulate growth, innovation, and digital inclusion, ultimately positioning Pakistan as a more competitive player in the global IT arena.