By Ali Imran
ISLAMABAD: The federal government will present a “business friendly” budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 in order to support the masses and for the economic progress and development in the country, reiterated Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday.
He made the remarks while talking to a delegation of the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan, who called on him in Islamabad.
The delegates apprised the financial czar of the challenges being faced by the construction industry and presented their proposals for the upcoming federal budget.
It also assured to support the government in its efforts for overcoming the economic challenges and to boost the economic and business activities in the country.
Dar appreciated the proposals presented by the delegation and assured them that the government is taking concrete steps to overcome the economic challenges and for strengthening the economy of the country. The delegation thanked the finance minister for considering their budget proposals.
According to some reports, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is mulling options to reduce the duty on mobile phones in the next budget — which is expected to be unveiled on June 9 — keeping in view the suggestions of Pakistan Mobile Phone Traders.
Previously, the government was obliged to raise the duty on mobile phones by 100% to 150%, and resultantly, only Rs5 billion to Rs10 billion were being deposited in the national exchequer instead of Rs85 billion.
The number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has exceeded 186.9 million.
In order to cope with the financial crisis of the current financial year, in the new budget, a proposal for a conspicuous reduction in the rates of duties on cellular phones is under consideration, which is about 100% to 150% at present on small and big mobile phones.
The mobile industry is on the brink of collapse due to an increase in taxes. It not only affected traders but also made the life of millions of people difficult to earn a livelihood.
It has been learnt that a delegation of the Mobile Phones Traders Association has given recommendations to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior officials.
The delegation ensured that efforts would be made to include the recommendations in the budget. These proposals and recommendations are being reviewed to make them a part of the new budget.
It has been learnt that a 75% duty was imposed on cellular phones in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region like Singapore, Bangladesh and Turkey where it is not at that level. That is the reason people are using smartphones without paying duties in connivance with FBR.
The additional 100% to 150% duty on cell phones has made it out of reach of the poor, labourers, daily wagers, students, professionals, the lawyer community, and civil society.