The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Thursday said mobile phones are one of the most effective tool to lift people out of poverty and provide opportunities to entrepreneurs therefore government should reduce taxes on telecom industry.
Pakistan’s telecom industry has been paying Rs 57 billion tax per year which is one of the most heavily taxed sectors in the Saarc region, it said.
Mobile phones have brought about remarkable social progress in low-income countries while its impact has been estimated at a quarter of trillion USD in the poverty belt that includes South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.
Mobile phones is a great productivity tool which make citizens economically strong who in turn make their governments more accountable and friendly to worthy causes including a peaceful and prosperous world, she added.
Farida Rashid said that according to a study of 120 countries conducted by the World Bank, a 10 per cent increase in mobile phone penetration results in a 0.8 per cent increase in economic growth.
From 1996 to 2011, mobile phone penetration in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa combined rose from zero per cent to 63 per cent. During the 15- year period the poverty belt experienced on average an additional one per cent economic growth rate due to mobile phones, the study says.
Within this same period, the combined GDP of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa grew, from $811 billion to $1,870 billion, an average annual growth rate of 5.72 per cent.
Without the impact of mobile phones, these economies would have grown at an annual rate of 4.72 per cent, and the economy of the poverty belt by 2011 would be only $1,620 billion.
Mobiles are not a luxury product became a mass product that advances economic situation of consumer by saving time, money, labour, transportation, and opportunity costs.
Cell phones have resulted in continued economic and social progress in low-income countries therefore telecom industry must be promoted by policymakers, Farida Rashid demanded.