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IT Minister rejects proposal of banning cryptocurrency in Pakistan

IT Minister also regretted increase in advance tax on telecom sector, saying he opposed it in the cabinet and the parliament and a discussion is going on the matter of withholding tax are under way with the Finance Ministry and the FBR.

ISLAMABAD: Aminul Haqu, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication has turned down a proposal of slapping ban on cryptocurrency in Pakistan.

Minister told media that as a policy the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication strongly opposes ban, which would be a hurdle in the social and economic development process in the country.

Talking to the media, the minister said that as a policy the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication opposes any such ban, which hinders the development process. With respect to cryptocurrency matters could be discussed but the IT Ministry is not directly involved in it.

The Ministry of Finance, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) are involved in the matter related to cryptocurrency, said the minister, adding that the ministry is ready to provide technical assistance, if it receives clearance from these institutions.

He regretted the increase in advance tax on telecom sector, while saying that it was opposed by him in the cabinet and the parliament. We opposed it at every forum and the MQM had proposed separate amendments, as well. The talks on the matter of withholding tax are under way with the Finance Ministry and the FBR, Haque added.

The minister said that they want to reduce the withholding tax on telecom sector from 15 percent to 10 percent to facilitate the general public.

Responding to another question, the minister said that meetings are being held on a monthly basis on 5G where all stakeholders participate.

The government has targeted to launch 5G in the country by end December 2022 or latest by January 2023. The minister further said that personal data protection bill would be tabled in the cabinet after getting approval from the ECC. The bill has been made business-friendly.

Secretary informed the committee that during the severe Covid-19 attack in India, most of the order were missed and converted to Pakistan which resulted in increasing the IT sector exports remittances to grow by 47 percent from $1.4 billion in 2019-20 to $2.1 billion in 2020-21.

IT Minister also regretted increase in advance tax on telecom sector, saying he opposed it in the cabinet and the parliament and a discussion is going on the matter of withholding tax are under way with the Finance Ministry and the FBR.

The minister said that they want to reduce the withholding tax on telecom sector from 15 percent to 10 percent to facilitate the general public.

Responding to another question, IT Minister Haq said meetings are being held on a monthly basis on 5G where all stakeholders participate. He said the the government has set the target to launch 5G in the country by end- December 2022.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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