Saturday, October 15, 2016

PTA asked to direct cellular cos to collect consumers’ details

Business Recorder (15 Oct 16)  - by FAZAL SHER 

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary bod
y on Friday asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to bound cellular companies to collect all details of consumers to avoid deduction of withholding tax/Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cards load from those who are not falling under taxable limit. 

Senator Daud Khan Achakzai, convener of the Sub-Committee of the Committee on Delegated Legislation while presiding over the meeting said that the government deducts Rs 35 withholding tax and other taxes from the consumers whose income was less than Rs 100,000. 

He asked the PTA to restrict mobile companies to collect all details of consumers before issuing mobile phone SIMs to stop deduction of Rs 35 withholding tax/FED etc. from those whose income was less than Rs 100,000. 

Achakzai questioned where the FBR was depositing the amount collected through withholding tax from non-taxpayer consumers who are not holders of National Tax Numbers (NTNs). 

A senior official of the PTA told the meeting that the Authority only regulates functions of cellular companies and it has nothing to do with the deduction of withholding tax from the consumers. “PTA does not regulate fiscal laws but it only regulates services of cellular companies,” he said, adding the deduction of withholding tax is the job of FBR and only they can devise mechanism to avoid deduction of withholding tax from consumers whose income is less than 100,000. 

He said that the PTA held several meetings with the FBR over tax deduction, and FBR appointed a consultant on the recommendation of the PTA. 

Senator Kalsoom Parveen said that all cellular companies were accountable to the PTA following issuance of licenses to them.

The committee also discussed rules, regulations, notifications and SROs of the PTA and asked the Authority to inform the committee about amendments to all existing rules and regulations during the next meeting. 

PTA officials informed the meeting that the PTA was an autonomous body and it formulated 22 regulations under Telecom Act. The PTA made 19 amendments to the exiting regulations, they added. 

They said that amendment to Telecom Act can be made through the Ministry of Information Technology following the approval of the Parliament. However, they said the PTA does not need any amendments to the rules and regulations. 

Senator Javed Abbasi said that if there was need of amendment to the Telecom Act, then the PTA should propose amendment and submit it to the committee after vetting it from the Ministry of Law. 

An official of the Ministry of IT told the meeting that the existing Telecom Act had become outdated and the Ministry of Law was working on proposed amendments to the Act. 

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