- During Jan-July 2021, the production of mobile phones by local manufacturing plants stood at 12.27 million against imported mobile phones at 8.29 million
In a major development for Pakistan, the production of mobile phones by local manufacturing plants has surpassed the number of mobile phone imports, the national telecom regulator informed on Thursday.
During Jan-July 2021, the production of mobile phones by local manufacturing plants stood at 12.27 million against imported mobile phones at 8.29 million, added the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
"This trend reflects a positive uptake on PTA’s Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Authorization regulatory regime whereby local manufacturing within the first year of regime introduction has resulted in production of 12.27 million phones in a short span of 7 months including 4.87 million 4G smartphones," said the PTA in a statement.
Mobile phones account for a significant portion of Pakistan's imports. In 2020-21, the country imported mobile phones worth $2.065 billion compared to $1.369 billion during 2019-20, a year-on-year growth of 50.75% , showed data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The regulator was of the view that the successful implementation of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) along with conducive government policies including the mobile manufacturing policy created a favorable environment for mobile device manufacturing in Pakistan.
The government introduced a comprehensive mobile manufacturing policy to encourage and attract manufacturers to establish their units in Pakistan.
"The PTA in light of the policy issued MDM Regulations on 28th January, 2021. Till now, 26 companies have been issued MDM authorisation enabling them to manufacture mobile devices in Pakistan. The companies include renowned brands e.g. Samsung, Nokia, Oppo, TECNO, Infinix, Vgotel, Q-mobile etc."
The developments are being seen as a major positive for Pakistan that has historically relied on foreign shipments of a wide variety of products to fulfil domestic demand. Among them, mobile phones were seen as a major item, alone contributing close to 5% of the import bill.
However, the government has looked to promote a 'Made in Pakistan' approach, incentivising local manufacturing as well as discouraging imports through various measures including increasing import duty. Massive depreciation of the rupee in the last four years has also played a role in reducing imports.
The preference for local manufacturing is aimed at freeing up dollar reserves that remain under constant pressure.
Just earlier this month, the PTA issued MDM authorisation to Lucky Motor Corporation Limited to manufacture Samsung-branded phones in the country.
The authority had said that this was a landmark achievement and “will further revolutionise the vibrant mobile manufacturing ecosystem in the country by ensuring presence of major local and foreign players in the market".
The production facility is expected to be completed by end of December 2021.