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Wolesi Jirga suspends collection of mobile phone tax

Wolesi Jirga suspends collection of mobile phone tax

Oct 11, 2017 - 19:24

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga -- lower house of parliament -- has suspended the 10 percent tax imposed on mobile phone users until a transparent system for revenue collection is put in place.

Based on a presidential decree, also endorsed by the Cabinet when the parliament was on its summer recess, the government imposed the 10 percent tax on all telecommunication service users. The levy took effect on September 23, 2015.

The Wolesi Jirga recently tasked the telecommunication commission of the house to investigate complaints about lack of transparency in the collection of the tax.

Qais Hassan, head of the telecommunication commission, told today’s session of the Wolesi Jirga that the 10 percent tax collection process was not transparent.

Most of the money landed in pockets of certain individuals, he alleged, without going into details. He suggested the tax collection had, therefore, been suspended.

Under his plan, the tax collection process should be suspended until a transparent system was implemented.

Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai, second deputy speaker, asked lawmakers to vote on the suspension of the tax collection. Of the 119 legislators present, 110 voted in favour of suspending the tax collection.

A few days after the telecommunication services tax was approved, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) had said that a transparent recovery mechanism had been established.

Acting communication and information technology minister, Shahzad Gul Aryubi, had acknowledged a week ago that eight billion afghanis had been collected, but the system was not transparent.