Pakistani telecom companies have assured the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) that they will block the mobile phone SIMs of over half a million non-filers but sought a period of one to 2 weeks to carry out this task. FBR Chairman Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana met with telecom company and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) officials for three consecutive days. During the meetings of these days, the implementation of the ITGO (Income Tax General Order No. 1 under Section 114 B of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001) issued by the board to disable the mobile phone SIMs of 506,671 individuals who had failed to file their returns for the year 2023 was discussed. In this research article, our Tashheer research team compiled all the reasons for blocking phone sims of non-filers by FBR, Pakistan.

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Will Telecom Operators Agree to Block Sims of Non-filers? And the Reasons Behind it

According to FBR officials, telecom operators have agreed to manually block SIMs in small batches. They also said that blocking the SIMs of non-filers will increase tax collection. A list of 5,000 non-filers has been provided to telecom operators for blocking SIMs. It also promotes equity by ensuring that everyone in Pakistan contributes their fair share towards public services. ​ By making more people pay taxes by implementing laws, the government of Pakistan can collect more money to spend on projects like making roads and government schools.

Telecom Operators Association of Pakistan spokesperson noted that in yesterday’s FBR meeting, operators raised technical, operational, and legal concerns about implementation. A follow-up meeting was scheduled, and Telecom operators did not provide assurance about blocking SIMs. The spokesperson said that the law to block non-filers from using SIM cards has been around for two years but it hasn’t been followed yet. The phone companies think it’s not fair to start implementing it strictly now after two years. They also mentioned that the tax authority (FBR) had the authority to cut off the electricity and gas supply to those who haven’t filed taxes under this law. They added that the FBR should also proceed with this move if the law had to be fully implemented.

Then, FBR replied that it’s up to the government to decide how, where, and when to use its powers. The spokesperson from the Telecom Operators Association said that it is not necessary to use all the powers given by law at the same time.

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The sources also said the telecom companies also argued that implementing this decision would result in a loss of 50 million Rs. for them and at the end FBR would also suffer in tax revenue. FBR added that it was necessary to document the country’s economy even if this initiative caused a loss of Rs. 500 million and the FBR would only witness a revenue decline of Rs. 50 million. But they argued that this loss would only be temporary. Once the non-filers were documented, the telecom companies would make more money and the tax authority would collect more taxes.

The sources from telecom companies also pointed that 20,000 to 25,000 mobile SIMs should blocked. They also suggested that there were non-filers who had more than one SIM and they could be frozen one by one.

In response, the FBR officials explained to the telecom companies that parliament had made a formal law regarding the blocking of non-filers mobile phone SIMs. They continued that parliament was the supreme body and that the law must be implemented or strict action would be taken against those who disobeyed it.

During Monday’s meeting, the telecom companies said they were ready to follow the decision to block the SIM cards of non-filers. They asked the FBR for some time to come up with practical solutions and prepare proposals based on workable solutions. These telecom companies said they fully complied with the laws of the country.

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In this research article, our Tashheer research team compiled all the reasons for blocking phone sims of non-filers by FBR, Pakistan. Following multiple discussions, telecom companies agreed to start the blocking process manually in patches until they can fully automate the system. The first group, consisting of 5,000 non-filers, was reported on Friday for immediate SIM blocking. Telecom operators will send further lists daily.

About the Author: Alishba

Alishba Zaheer is the lead content writer at Tashheer Digital and has a genuine passion for storytelling. With her team of skillful content writers, her expertise lies in the ability to seamlessly adapt writing style to various niches, checking new trends in Tech, especially in Pakistan. She stays ahead of the curve and maintains her dedication to writing excellence. Among other things, she has been instrumental in researching local brands, Pakistani products, and services, providing benchmark articles for Pakistani audiences.