Published On: Sat, Apr 30th, 2016

Phone charges to rise due to VAT

Harin-FernandoPhone call charges will increase because of the removal of the exemption of Value Added Tax (VAT) from the telecommunication services, Minister of Digital Technology Harin Fernando said yesterday. Minister Fernando told a media briefing that call charges could go high as a result of the recent decision to remove the exemption VAT but concessionary packages including data packages and new technology will be introduced in the future so that the burden the people will have to bear will be reduced.

“We will introduce concessionary data packages through which call charges could be reduced. One could browse internet using data service such as “WhatsApp” but the Government will see to it that more such modern technology will be available so that even call charges can be reduced as well,” he said. He said the “Google loon” will help reduce the cost of telecommunication services as well,” the Minister added. Also, the Minister said plans are afoot to provide Smart phones to the recipients of EPF at a concessionary rate of Rs 500 and for the Samurdhi recipients at Rs 100. “Smart phones will be provided at a concessionary rate as lost cost new technology could be made use of only through such phones,” he said. “The Government does not want to increase telecommunication charges but it is compelled to do so because of the current economic situation,” Mr. Fernando added. Meanwhile, the Minister threw a challenge at the joint opposition asking the organisers of that party to show a large crowd at its May Day rally in Kirulapone. “Joint Opposition will not be able to draw crowds despite the emergence of ‘supermen’ such as former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is expected to participate in the rally,” he said.

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