Depressing birthday, national budget and Sales Tax on Computers

Pakistan

Supposedly the birthday should be a bright day, with pleasant weather, gifts, lots of flowers, hundreds of birthday wishes via SMS and emails, sumptuous ice cream cake, dinner party with friends etc. However, this wasn’t the case on my birthday this year.
Supposedly the birthday should be a bright day, with pleasant weather, gifts, lots of flowers, hundreds of birthday wishes via SMS and emails, sumptuous ice cream cake, dinner party with friends etc. However, this wasn’t the case on my birthday this year.

Early in the morning, the first bad news that I received was that our organizations long time driver had died due to hepatitis. While I was still trying to absorb this shock, there was another tremor that a journalist Hayatullah from Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), who was kidnapped about 6 months ago, was brutally killed and his dead body was found in Mirali. This has been one of the worst years for journalists.

I was out of country, when government presented national budget in the national assembly. I am really not a person of figures and data, however, I was deeply interested to know that how government will frame something useful to boost the IT sector in the country. However, it was shocking to know that computers and accessories are now subject to 15% sales tax. This I believe is an act to brutally murder the nascent IT sector in the country. This step has actually jeopardized various government projects. Then I wrote to Jehan Ara, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association to know her point of view on this. She said that:

“The sales tax on computers will not only increase our cost of doing business, I feel it will impact computerization in the country as a whole. All the e-government projects will cost a lot more, SMEs will be more reluctant to spend a larger portion on automating their businesses, education will suffer because schools already have a small budget and this will cut into that, individuals will find the cost to be more of a barrier and NGOs with IT projects will find it harder to implement them within existing budgets”.

She further informed that:

“I issued a statement the day the budget came out but will be writing officially to the Ministry of IT and the Ministry of Finance to try and fight this GST. Other people who are sending letters to the Ministry are Intel, FPCCI and ISTE”.

Just yesterday, federal secretary has been quoted in the national press saying that Central Board of Revenue didn’t consulted the ministry of IT before taking the decision to impose sales tax on computers. A total laughing stock and hilarious to note the effective coordination between the government agencies.

To sum up the whole Saga:

- It is not wise to be a true professional journalist in this situation in this country.

- Our defense budget demands more and more taxes to be imposed on people.

Stay safe folks!

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