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Senate rejects Wolesi Jirga decision on telecom tax

Senate rejects Wolesi Jirga decision on telecom tax

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Nov 26, 2017 - 17:23

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon or Senate on Sunday rejected a Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon’s decision on the 10 percent telecom tax and set a six-month deadline for the government to activate a transparent system.

On October 11, the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of the parliament suspended the 10 percent tax on mobile phone users until a transparent system for the tax collection was activated.

Lawmakers had said there was no transparency in collection of the mobile phone users’ tax and a large amount of the money went to personal pockets.

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

Mohammad Rahim Hassanyar, deputy head of the telecommunications commission of Meshrano Jirga, presented information about the Wolesi Jirga decision and said, “The government budget would face more deficiency if the 10 percent telecom tax is cancelled.”

He said officials of the ministries of telecommunication and information technology and the finance had promised to activate a transparent system for collection of the 10 percent tax.

A number of other senators supported collection of the 10 percent telecom tax but asked the government to activate a transparent system in this regard.

The Meshrano Jirga members finally rejected the Wolesi Jirga’s decision.

Senate chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar announced a six-month deadline for the government to activate a transparent mobile phone tax collection system.

He asked the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology to press telecom companies to register all unregistered SIM cards and reduce rates for domestic phone calls.

According to the Article 100 of the Constitution, if a decision of one house of the parliament is rejected by another, a joint commission comprised of members from both houses would then discuss and decide controversial issues.

“If the joint commission does not solve the difference, the decision shall be considered rejected. In such situation, the Wolesi Jirga shall pass it with two-thirds majority in its next session.

This decision, without submission to the Meshrano Jirga, shall be promulgated once endorsement by the President.” the article says.

mds/ma

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