The government collects thirty rupees as tax from every hundred rupees spent on mobile services by a user, according to a summit organised by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics called Internet for Everyone and attended by technology specialists. The most expensive levy imposed by a government on mobile phone services in the world. According to the experts, Pakistan has a lot of potential to grow its information technology business, but its tactics are inconsistent, which causes a lot of problems.
Speakers included M Ali Ibrahim, Mobil ink Microfinance Bank Limited’s Head of Marketing and Communication, Zouhair Khalid, former president and CEO of Mobil ink, MD Mobile for Development Global System for Mobile Communication, GCTIO, Member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Information Technology and Telecom, and Pervez Iftikhar, Saad Muzaffar Waraich Information Co. The meeting was led by Dr. Nadeemul Haque, vice-chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
Members also stressed that rather than focusing on short-term goals, the government should focus on long-term measures that will help build the information technology industry and provide increased government remits.
The panellists viewed GPRS as a need rather than a luxury, and they said that the lack of internet access put Pakistan on the verge of being handicapped during the early stages of the pandemic. They also bemoaned the fact that the GPRS was widely regarded to be the most powerful force in controlling our society’s class gap. It was also causing more divide because it was considered a luxury.