The government of Punjab, under the leadership of Shahbaz Sharif, has decided to impose more taxes on internet users in the province. This will include all sorts of internet – 2G, 3G, 4G, DSL or any other form of internet.
Although Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Finance Minister for Punjab, didn’t mention this in her budget speech in the Provincial Assembly yesterday, but we can confirm that all sorts of internet will be taxed in Punjab at a flat Sales Tax rate of 19.5%.
It is important to note that another 14% tax is already being deducted for internet services across Pakistan. This will take the entire taxes on internet to around 35 percent in the province – one-third of the total cost.
New taxes will be applicable from July 1st, 2017. With this, Pakistan has become one of the only few countries where internet is taxed. Good news for those students who use internet below Rs. 1,500 per month that they are exempted from this newly imposed sales tax.
Punjab houses over 50 percent population and over 56 percent of internet users of Pakistan. The low-priced internet played a vital role in adding 40 million new internet users in past three years. It is feared that this new tax will put caps on such exponential growth rates and will badly impact the country’s economy.
It is worth mentioning here that the same government had previously imposed the same tax back in 2014 but had withdrawn it after facing backlash.