In a webinar organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) titled “Internet for all”, leading technology experts lamented that the government collects Rs. 30 as tax from every Rs. 100 spent on mobile services by a consumer – the highest amount of tax collected on mobile services by a government in the world. The experts also stressed that Pakistan has great potential to develop the information technology sector, but inconsistent policies create substantial hurdles.
The panel discussion featured speakers such as M Ali Ibrahim, Head of Marketing and Communication, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited, Zouhair Khalid, Member of Prime Minister’s Task Force on IT and Telecom, former president and CEO, Mobilink, MD Mobile for Development GSMA, along with Pervez Iftikhar, ICT Consultant and Saad Muzaffar Waraich, GCTIO, Operations, PTC. Dr Nadeemul Haque, vice-chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), moderated the session.
The panellists also stressed that rather than focusing on short-term policies, the government must focus on long-term policies, which will help flourish the information technology sector and ensure higher returns for the government.
The participants identified the internet as a necessity rather than a luxury while further adding that the non-availability of the internet took Pakistan to the verge of being handicapped during the initial days of the pandemic. They also regretted that the internet was supposed to be the biggest force in overcoming the class divide in our society. Yet, it was causing further division since it was perceived as a luxury.
Source: Business Recorder