The 2019-20 Budget announced by the government has been very kind to the Sci-Tech and IT & Telecom ministries. With billions of rupees allocated for this sector, the budget clearly reflected the government’s strong resolution and dedication to boost the country’s economy through technology and bring a tech revolution in the country.
The State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar announced the budget on behalf of the government. Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar while presenting the budget in the parliament said, “Our institutions will be strengthened and 2019-20 will be the year of change. The govt will avoid taking loans from the SBP to cover shortfalls, while inflation will be targeted to be kept between 5-7pc.”
We have gathered all the details from the budget that are related to science and technology, and the IT and Telecom sector and have explained briefly in this article.
Rs. 43 billion for Sci-Tech sector
The government has set aside a total of Rs. 951 billion for the development of the country. Out of those 951 billion rupees, Rs. 43 billion are solely allocated for the development of projects under the science and technology sector in Pakistan.
Rs. 7.341 billion for the IT&T sector
The government has not ignored the IT and Telecom sector. For the IT&T department in Pakistan, the government has allocated Rs. 7.341 billion budget, which the government will use to develop and complete 10 ongoing projects by spending Rs. 1.466 billion and other 19 new schemes will also be introduced from the remaining Rs 5.864 billion budget.
3% decrease in VAT on mobile phone imports
After applying heavy regulations to the mobile phone imports in the past few months, the government has attempted to provide a little relief to the mobile phone retailers to generate more revenue. The Value-Added Tax (VAT) on mobile phone imports has been decreased by 3%, with an aim to recover from the 7% decrease in the cellular devices imports in the last few months.
Allocation for telecom services and technology parks
The government has also allocated Rs. 600 million to develop 3G/4G infrastructure in remote areas, whereas Rs. 474 million to replace GSM networks in Azad and Jammu Kashmir and to improve the technology infrastructure in the Kashmir region. Moreover, a total of Rs. 100 million have been assigned for the development of technology parks in the federal capital.
As a whole, the budget proved to be a disappointment for many and received severe criticism by the public and opposition due to massive taxes imposed with no significant relief to the people. However, the budget clearly reflects that the government is keen to bring important changes in the technology sector and we hope to see Pakistan make enough progress to compete with other popular tech evolved nations.