Afghanistan’s parliament has voted to cancel a 10% tax on telecommunications services over concerns regarding the lack of a collection system for the levy. Ariana news cites the chairman of the assembly’s Telecommunication and Transportation Commission, Qais Hassan, as saying that the tax was expected to generate around AFN14.6 billion (USD212 million) for state coffers over the last two years, but only AFN7.9 billion had been collected during that period. The absence of a formal system for the collection sparked concerns that the funds were being collected from operators but were being pocketed by officials along the way, with MP Khalilullah Shaheedzada criticising the lack of supervision in the current process. MPs stressed that they would continue to oppose the tax until a regular system for its collection was established.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) announced earlier this month that it was close to implementing a system for the collection. All of the necessary equipment has been purchased, and the MCIT intended to pilot the system within the next four months, testing the collection process on state-owned Afghan Telecom (Aftel).