The Punjab Government has officially decided to make all kinds of internet expensive for the users including 3G, 4G, DSL etc. They have imposed an unbelievable 19.5 percent sales tax on the usage of the internet.
The Finance Minister for Punjab, Dr. Ayesha Bukhsh, didn’t mention any such thing in her budget speech but the news has been confirmed that a flat sales tax of 19.5 percent will be implied.
The people are already paying a tax of 14% for internet services across the country and with the implementation of this tax, the percentage will rise to a whopping 35 percent.
Only the students in Punjab who are using the internet below Rs.1,500 per month are exempted from this tax which has been recently imposed.
The mobile phone companies’ officials have confirmed this tax and have expressed that this move by the government is against its digital initiatives.
The new tax will be applicable from the 1st of July, 2017.
Pakistan is one of the few countries where the internet is taxed. With such a high percentage of sales tax on the internet, it is expected that the digital sector of the country will receive a blow.
In 2014, Punjab government had imposed a similar tax but because of immense backlash, it had to eventually withdraw it.
During the past three years, 40 million new internet users have been added in Pakistan. It is dreaded that the new tax will put caps on these growth rates and this will badly impact the economy of the country.
Around 50 percent of Pakistan’s population resides in Punjab and 56% of internet users are living in the province.