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SHC’s verdict on abolishing duty on phone calls challenged in SC

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ISLAMABAD: The Sindh High Court’s verdict to strike down the federal excise duty of 75 paisas on every mobile phone call of over five minutes’ duration was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday.

The Federal Board of Revenue has challenged the decision of the Sindh High Court in the Supreme Court after the provincial court slashed the tax on mobile phone calls, Bol News reported.

The FBR petition said that the decision of the Sindh High Court was against the law and contrary to the facts. A bill passed by Parliament cannot be declared invalid by the High Court. Therefore, the decision of the Sindh High Court dated October 18 should be declared null and void.

It is pertinent to note that the Sindh High Court had ordered to abolish the tax on the request of various mobile companies.

The government through the Finance Bill 2021 had has slapped a tax on talking on a mobile phone for more than five minutes.

This decision attracted severe criticism from the general public, politicians and other stakeholders.

Also read: Tarin vows to address KCCI’s concerns over tax laws amendment

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin while winding up the budget discussion in the National Assembly in June this year said that speaking over your cellphone for more than five minutes will be taxed at 75 paisas, but there will be no tax on an SMS.

Telecom experts point out that additional FEDs on mobile calls will affect the low-income group who has to make long calls on a daily basis to stay in touch with their families in remote areas.

According to PTA figures, there are 187 million cellular subscribers in the country, 109 million use broadband/internet and 2 million make basic voice calls only while 106 are 3G/4G subscribers.

Image courtesy: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)

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