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Federal Government Allocates Mere Rs. 793 Million for IT and Telecom

The federal government has allocated Rs. 793 million for various development and research project under IT and Telecommunication Division for the year 2011-12, the budget document revealed.

The proposed budget is 10 percent higher as compared with the allocation of Rs. 718 million for the outgoing year 2010-11, which was cut drastically by 56 percent to Rs. 310 million after revision.

The government does not have any priority to carry out ICT development project in the country despite of the fact the industry has lot of potential to grow in local and global markets, an official of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) said in a discussion with ProPakistani.

We have designed different development project of IT in the closing fiscal year but the government did not pay any attention to approve our proposals, hence, all plans were put in the frozen box for long time, he said on the condition of anonymity.

PSEB official said that the government should at least show its commitment for the budget allocation particularly for undergoing and planned various projects of training, certification and development.

Ashraf Kapadia, Chairman Pakistan Software Housesí Association (PASHA), in a separate conversation with ProPakistani said the government should ensure the spending of ICT sector with its firm commitment for providing infrastructure to private sector companies.

He added the government should construct IT Parks with proper planning with the aim to strong the backbone of the economy with ICT services that will create business and employment opportunities in the country.

Like different social and industrial sectors, the government has not announced any entrepreneurship or employment schemes in the current budget.

Munawar Iqbal, Central President of PCA said that withdrawal of GST exemptions on computer software is highly regrettable decision which would add to miseries of the common man.

He said that the increase in the prices of computer software would actually discourage student of IT as they are already finding it hard to purchase expensive software.

Telecom Sector

The government has not given any relief to telecom sector and its subscribers in terms of taxes while continuing its discriminatory attitude, analysts said.

The government has cut the GST to 16 percent from 17 percent. It also reduced FED on Cement and Beverage Sector in the recently announced Finance Bill for 2011-12. But it did not take any measure to reduce tax burden on telecom sector, which is the highest in the country.

The 19.5 percent FED, which is collected in the mode of GST, remained intact. There is no deduction on activation tax or custom duty on handset imports.

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