Telecom companies fear Rs50 million loss on blocking SIMs

sims pakistan

ISLAMABAD: After initial resistance, mobile phone companies in Pakistan have agreed to cooperate with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on blocking SIM cards of non-tax filers.

According to a media report, Chairman FBR, Malik Amjad Zubair Towana, held meetings with mobile network companies and officials from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to discuss the implementation of an Income Tax General Order. This order mandates the deactivation of SIM cards belonging to individuals who haven’t filed their income tax returns.

Initially, mobile companies opposed the move, citing a two-year-old law that hadn’t been enforced previously. They argued that immediate implementation would be unfair and highlighted the FBR’s existing authority to disconnect the electricity and gas connections of non-filers.

The FBR countered by asserting the government’s right to exercise its legal powers at its discretion. They downplayed the potential revenue loss from SIM blocking, emphasizing the bigger goal of documenting the national economy. The FBR claimed their weekly revenue from the telecom sector is 1.7 billion rupees, and a potential loss of 50 million due to SIM blocking is a small price to pay for economic documentation, even if it were to reach 500 million rupees.

Read more: PTA rejects FBR’s request to block SIMs

With an agreement reached, mobile companies are willing to block over 5 lakh (500,000) SIMs belonging to non-filers. However, they have requested a window of one to one and a half weeks to complete the process. INP

You May Also Like