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ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday granted three-day deadline to the five telecom companies operating in the country to pay their outstanding taxes of Rs47 billion on interconnection charges for the past five years, DawnNews reported.

The telecom companies were allegedly involved in the sales tax evasion.

NAB has summoned the officials of the five telecom companies on Aug 9 and directed them to pay their sales tax along with the penalty.

The NAB further announced that if the companies failed to pay their taxes they would be dealt with according to the law.

NAB has also recommended that the names of three officials of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), including former secretary FBR, to be put on the exit Control List (ECL).

Earlier, the telecom operators  said that they will try to bail themselves out by bringing forth Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) position that the interconnection charges are ‘expenses’ and not `income’ under the Calling Party Pays regime.

The five telecom operators had reportedly expressed their concerns over what they claimed a ‘propaganda’ campaign against them with regard to Rs47 billion tax on interconnection charges.

The PTA had declared the interconnection charges as expenses when the CCP regime was inked.

“The interconnection charges are not income and tax cannot be imposed on expenditures.

“Therefore, we do not see the operators will be penalized in this case at end of the day,” a PTA official told Dawn correspondent.