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Lawmakers approve 10 per cent communication tax

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) of the Parliament approved Wednesday the tax law on telecommunication services.

Based on the law, telephone users have to pay 10 per cent tax to government.

Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani had instructed for imposing the communication tax through a decree, which the lawmakers rejected, arguing that financial issues should be in the framework of law.

The law was approved by the majority of MPs present in the session, however, some of the lawmakers opposed the it.

Hafiz Mansoor, head of audit committee of the lower house criticized the approval, saying that majority of lawmakers voted against the law.

“90 per cent of Afghans are poor, and we think 10 per cent tax over telephone users is burdensome,” said Mansoor.

MP, Robaba Parwani Darwish said that parliament speaker did not let others offer their viewpoints.

“The voting process was not based on internal procedure of the house, therefore, the law is not obligatory,” she mentioned.

Mohammad Hashim, MP from Faryab province said that Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) did not have an exact system to evaluate the taxes of telephone users.

He said that the telecommunication companies always escaped paying taxes. So, “the collection of scratch card tax through the companies is nontransparent”.

Communication Minister Abdul Razaq Vahidi said that the system for tax collection was recently designed.

“After several days hard work, we got a data management system that can give us detailed information on the number of subscribers and varying trends of the market activities,” he said.

Ministry of Finance, Eklil Hakimi said the government would receive four billion Afghanis from the phone tax annually.

More than 60 per cent of Afghans use mobile phones, according to official reports.

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