ISLAMABAD: Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $119.234 million during July 2021 compared to $147.999 million during the same month of last year, registering a decline of 19.44 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data.
The overall telecom imports into the country during the period under review (July) 2021 decreased by 10.41 percent by going down from $176.90 million in July 2020 to $158.488 million in July 2021.
On a month-on-month basis, the imports of mobile phones into Pakistan decreased by 41.75 percent during July 2021, when compared to $204.677 million imported in June 2021, the PBS data revealed.
On month-on-month basis, the overall telecom imports into the country decreased by 38.15 percent during July 2021, when compared to the imports of $256.255 million in June 2021.
Other apparatus’ imports during July 2021 increased by 35.82 percent and remained $39.254 million compared to $28.902 million in July 2021.
However, other apparatus’ imports declined by 23.89 percent when compared to $51.578 million in June 2021.
However, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood has stated that the government’s target is to bolster exports.
The government wanted to rationalise imports by encouraging local production, he said, adding that local manufacturing of mobile phones has reduced imports of mobile phones.
The adviser said that the imports of the country were high because traditionally Pakistan always relied on trade that was not “Made in Pakistan”.
“Now we are implementing the policy of “Made in Pakistan”,” he added.
The best example of which is that the number of locally-manufactured mobile phones has now exceeded imported phones, he added.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the production of mobile phones by local manufacturing plants has surpassed the number of mobile phones imports in the country during Jan-July 2021 as the local production was recorded at 12.27 million compared to the imported mobile phones of 8.29 million.
This trend reflects a positive uptake on the 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 seven months including 4.87 million 4G smart phones.
The successful implementation of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) along with conducive government policies including the mobile manufacturing policy has created a favourable environment for mobile device manufacturing in Pakistan.
It has also contributed positively to the mobile ecosystem of Pakistan by eliminating counterfeit device market providing a level-playing field for commercial entities and has created trust among consumers due to the formulation of standardised legal channels for all sorts of device imports.
The Government of Pakistan 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 Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Regulations on 28th January, 2021.
Till now, 26 companies have been issued MDM authorisation enabling them to manufacture mobile devices in Pakistan.
These companies include renowned brands e.g. Samsung, Nokia, Oppo, TECNO, Infinix, Vgotel, and Q-mobile, etc.
Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $2.065 billion during 2020-21 compared to $1.369 billion during 2019-20, showing growth of 50.75 percent.
Due to the introduction of the DIRBS, legal imports have increased significantly and local manufacturing has also picked up.
The government decided to introduce a comprehensive mobile manufacturing policy to encourage and attract mobile manufacturing players to come to Pakistan and establish their plants.
The taxes/duties collected from individual consumers, which prior to the DIRBS was an untapped area for revenue collection, stands at Rs13.93 billion during the period January 2019 to March 2021.
On the commercial import side, the revenue of Rs22 billion during 2018-19 increased to Rs83 billion for the period from January 2019 to November 2020.
This is a significant increase despite economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
Impacts of the DIRBS on economy, (a) PTA has blocked 175 thousand devices IMEI reported as stolen through DIRBS, (b) System has also identified and blocked 26.03 million fake/replica mobile devices since 2019 identified as programmed with non-GSMA formation, (c) The system has been successfully able to identify cloned/duplicated IMEI, whereby, 657,645 IMEI were cloned against 4.24 million MSISDN. The launch of DIRBS has also had a significant impact on development of mobile device ecosystem as companies now have a level-playing field.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021