World celebrate WTD on 17 May ! Pakistan on May 22 !

ISLAMABAD ( ABRAR MUSTAFA )

World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.

The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

Pakistan will award 3G and 4G licenses to all four cellular operators on May 22, a new telecom day in Pakistan for 2014, an official of the Pakistan Ministry of IT and Telecom confirmed. It was earlier planned to award licenses on May 17, a day, when the entire world celebrate World Telecom Day but the ceremony has been delayed further due to a tight schedule of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who has been requested to witness the landmark event in the history of Telecommunication in Pakistan.

Initially, Government of Pakistan (GoP) had declared May 10th as a license issuing day for next generation mobile services (NGMS) but a sudden dispute between cellular operators and GoP on the issue of 10% withholding tax halted the process for a while until it was resolved yesterday in a meeting between Federal Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar and CEOs of the cellular operators in which the latter agreed to pay advance 10% tax before the issuance of license.

The government and cellular operators have reached a consensus on advance payment of withholding tax, as it was decided that the cellular operators will make 10 percent advance payment of withholding tax on account of 3G and 4G spectrum auctions within the ongoing month, an official said.

However, the FBR has been assigned to devise a formula for repayment of stuck up billions of rupees refunds of the telecom operators in different phases.

On every auction done by the government, the Income Tax Ordinance authorises the FBR to collect 10 percent WHT from the withholding agent who is selling any asset of the government.

One of the companies had also raised the issue that the FBR had not yet provided them stuck up refunds so they would be unable to submit billions of rupees withholding tax in advance, he said.

The WHT is an adjustable tax and when the companies file their returns in the next fiscal year then it could be adjusted, keeping in view their overall tax liabilities.

The FBR had so far collected Rs1,745 billion in the first 10 months (July-April) of the current fiscal year and it will have to collect Rs530 billion in order to achieve the revised tax collection target of Rs2,275 billion.

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