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ISLAMABAD: Local manufacturing plants have manufactured/ assembled 15.66 million mobile handsets during the first 10 months (January-October) of 2023 compared to 1.28 million imported commercially.

The local manufacturing plants have manufactured/ assembled 2.64 million mobile handsets during October 2023 compared to 0.19 million imported commercially.

Local manufacturing plants manufactured/ assembled 21.94 million mobile handsets during the calendar year 2022 compared to 24.66 million in 2021, i.e., registered a decline, attributable to issues in imports on account of restricting the opening of letters of credit (LCs).

Around 21.94 million mobile handsets were assembled during the calendar year 2022 - compared to 1.53 million commercially imported phones handsets, said the Pakistan Telecom-munication Authority (PTA).

The locally manufactured/ assembled 15.66 million mobile phones handsets included 10.25 million 2G and 5.41 million smartphones.

Besides, as per the PTA data, 58 per cent of mobile devices are smartphones, and 42 per cent are 2G on the Pakistan network.

Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturers Association (PMPMA) vice-chairman Aamir Allahwala told Business Recorder that the share of imported mobile phones is now touching 10 per cent.

He further said that the gap between taxes on CBU and taxes on CKD imports is narrowing down. The Regulatory Duty on CBU mobile phones is fixed in Pak Rupees. As the rupee has depreciated significantly from Rs180 to Rs285 per USD, the amount of regulatory duty has become smaller as a percentage of total value. This means that gap in taxes between CBU and CKD imports has gone down significantly making it attractive to import CBU mobile phones

The trend of CBU imports is on the rise. It impacts the 40,000 jobs created by 31 mobile phone manufacturers in Pakistan after launch of mobile device manufacturing policy. The Government must revise the CBU Regulatory Duty upwards at the soonest possible to avoid any further damage to domestic industry, which is now focusing on localization and exports, Allahwala added.

The country imported mobile phones worth $469.992 million during the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year 2023-24, registering a growth of 107.91 per cent when compared to $226.051 million during the same period of last year.

Pakistan’s mobile phone imports increased by 33.20 per cent on a month-on-month (MoM) basis in October 2023 and stood at $165.941 million compared to imports of $124.576 million in September 2023, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Mobile phone imports registered 152.27 per cent growth on a year-on-year (YoY) basis in October 2023 when compared to $65.780 million in October 2022.

The overall telecom imports into the country stood at $606.865 million during July-October 2023 and registered 75.60 per cent growth compared to $345.595 million during the same period of last fiscal year.

On a YoY basis, the overall telecom imports registered a growth of 114.65 per cent and stood at $207.789 million in October 2023 compared to $96.805 million in October 2022. On a MoM basis, the overall telecom imports registered 30.94 per cent growth in October 2023 compared to $158.688 million during September 2023.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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