Telecom industry needs relief amid coronavirus pandemic

Telecom industry of Pakistan requests the government for relief to cope with the needs of consumers amid coronavirus pandemic which is affecting the whole economy of the country.

Telecom industry needs relief amid coronavirus pandemic

Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz, on behalf of Cellular Mobile Operators, while taking at a television channel said, “The telecom sector looking for government support in this difficult time. Due to shutdown of business activities the network calls has dropped about 10 percent. There has been a surge of 15 percent in internet usage in the country since the lockdown enforced. Pakistan telecom industry is working hard to meet the requirements of the consumers.”

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Telecom industry is looking for ease in temporary suspension of government taxes, relaxation of NADRA charges for verification of consumer data, demanding additional spectrum in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan, reduction in USF and R&D funds, and reduction in Annual Regulatory Dues.

The telecom industry demanded the suspension of Withholding Tax (WHT), taxes waver on data services, and reduction of GST, which will help consumers to stay connected while maintaining social distancing.

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The industry leaders requested to ease on NADRA verification charges that makes gross of PKR 150 million per month to telecom companies, this will help the industry to cope with the recent crises.

To provide communication services along with the e-health and e-learning services in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan region the telcos demanded the issuance of additional spectrum. This grant of request will ease the connectivity needs of the people of this region, and they will have equal access to mobile broadband services.

The industry is also looking to reduce their contribution in Universal Service Fund and Research and Development Fund, which is 1.5 and 0.5 percent respectively. Telcos are also requested to minimize Annual Regulatory Dues (ARDs) to at least 50 percent.

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Telecom sector is the backbone of country’s economy, which contributes a large amount in government exchequer in terms of taxes. Due to escalating threat of Covid-19 that is affecting the whole economy of the globe, Pakistan is no other than that. In this hard time the support of government bodies to the telecom sector will provide ease of doing business in the country and will ultimately provide relief to the consumers.

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