LAHORE – After a news regarding a memo of Punjab government to ban ride-hailing services Careem and Uber, the Directorate of Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control issued a notification on Wednesday seeking details of vehicles linked to their companies.

The notifications states that a number of private vehicles registered with the Motor Registering Authority (MRA) were being used for commercial purposes under the platform of Careem and Uber.

Earlier on Tuesday, hours after a memo declared three online transportation companies – Careem, Uber and A One – as “illegal”, Chairman of the Punjab IT board Umar Saif said the approach is being “reviewed”.

Talking to the media, he said that the government did not issue any notification as it was an internal memo between the offices that has been prematurely made public.

He said that the approach was being reviewed within the government, adding, “We are coming up with a formal policy.”

He said both Uber and Careem currently did not pay tax in Pakistan, adding that the Punjab government was handling the issue with an “innovative business model”.

“There are two ways that a government can approach such companies when they launch: 1) treat them as a taxi service or 2) treat them as a service that government’s can regulate.”

“We don’t want to treat them as a taxi service,” Saif added. “But they need to be regulated and taxed. They must register as a formal business under a new taxation regime.”

A committee will be formed in which all departments concerned will be made part of it for deliberations, he said.

When asked to share details on the new plan, Saif said it will be modelled around taxation regimes for such companies in Malaysia, Egypt and Indonesia where they are treated as “network service providers”.

On Monday, the government declared three online transportation companies – Careem, Uber and A One – as illegal and directed the authorities to launch a ‘crackdown’ on them.

Punjab Govt's notification
Punjab Govt’s notification