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Wolesi Jirga rejects 10pc tax on cell-phone users

“The Lower House of the Parliament said it wants tax on cellular services but under a new regulation approved by the lawmakers as without approval the Presidential decree on tax violates the Constitution”

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: The Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday rejected the presidential decree imposing a 10 percent tax on the cell-phone users.

The decree was rejected with majority. The Wolesi Jirga termed the decree against Article 79 of the Constitution. According to the decree, a cell-phone user had to pay 10 percent tax on every scratch card loaded.

Member of Financial and Budget Committee (FBC) of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament), Seddiq Ahmad Usmani, said that President Ashraf Ghani has violated Article 79 of the Constitution. And this decree had to be referred to the FBC as it was a financial issue, said Usmani. He added that they do want taxes, but it must be according to the law. “The president has violated the Constitution nine times,” he alleged.

Article 79 of the Constitution says that during the recess of the House of the Representatives, the Government shall, in case of an immediate need, issue legislative decree, except in matters of budget and financial affairs.

Secretary of Communication and Telecommunication Committee (CTC) of the Wolesi Jirga, Mosa Nasrat, said that his committee has rejected the presidential decree as it was against the Constitution.

Nasrat in a brief interview to Afghanistan Times expressed his concerns over transparency in taxes collection mechanism. He said the lawmakers had asked the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTIT) to establish a system for next two years that would ensure total transparency in tax collection process. He said that such systems are common in other countries, but the ministry has not been established it.

And the WJ is agreed for collection of tax payment for increasing the incomes, but it must be based on a new regulation approved by the lawmakers in the WJ, said Nasrat.

Secretary of the CTC called the presidential decree illegal and said that his committee is trying to form a new mechanism under the framework of the law of telecommunication tax payment to be approved by the lawmakers in the WJ and Meshrano Jirga (MJ) based on the Constitution, he said.

According to his information 80 million Afghanis has been collected through mobile phone scratch cards.

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