Govt asked to stop charging 10pc tax on mobile users
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga’s financial and budgetary commission on Monday said charging the 10 percent tax on cell phone users was illegal after a presidential decree imposing the levy had been rejected by the lower house.
The lower house earlier this month rejected by a majority of vote the presidential decree which had been endorsed by the Council of Ministers during parliament’s summer recess, with lawmakers arguing the presidential decree was against Article 79 of the Constitution.
Article 79 says: “During parliament recess, the government shall, in case of an immediate need, issue legislative decrees except in matters related to budget and financial affairs. Legislative decrees, after endorsement by the president, shall acquire the parliament approval.”
The article adds the legislative decrees shall be presented to parliament within 30 days of convening of its first session. If rejected by the parliament, they become void.
But the Ministry of Finance said the 10 percent tax was still regal despite the rejection of the presidential decree because the tax had been included in the new fiscal year draft budget which was approved by lawmakers.
Lawmaker from Balkh Maulvi Abdul Rahman Rahmani said the 10pc tax had no legal framework and it was illegal after the presidential decree was rejected. He said the tax had not been included in the 2015 budget.
Deputy head of the financial and budgetary commission, SeddiqAhmad Osmani, said revenue from the tax had not been mentioned in the budget. If it had been included in the draft budget, it had to be in accordance with Article 42 of the Constitution, he said.
The Article 42 says “every Afghan is obligated to pay taxes and duties to the government in accordance with the provisions of law. No taxes and duties are enforced without provisions of law.”
According to Osmani, the government action showed it is not committed to enforcing laws in the country, saying the president had issued nine decrees during the summer recess and it was against the law.
Another MP, Rahimullah Ghalib said the presidential decree was sent to the Meshrano Jirga or upper house of parliament and the move was also against the law.
Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi accused the government of breaking laws, saying charging the 10pc tax should be stopped as soon as possible because the decree had been rejected by lawmakers.
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