Govt finalises draft policy for locally assembled mobile phones

Published October 9, 2019
The En­ginee­­­r­ing Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday finalised a draft of the Mobile Device Manufactur­ing Policy which centres on replacing imported mobile phone sets with locally assembled and manufactured ones.  — Reuters/File
The En­ginee­­­r­ing Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday finalised a draft of the Mobile Device Manufactur­ing Policy which centres on replacing imported mobile phone sets with locally assembled and manufactured ones. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The En­ginee­­­r­ing Development Board (EDB) on Tuesday finalised a draft of the Mobile Device Manufactur­ing Policy which centres on replacing imported mobile phone sets with locally assembled and manufactured ones.

Moreover, the board was directed by an adviser to the prime minister to decide the policy by next month.

During a briefing by the board for Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser to the prime minister on indust­ries and production told the EDB to finalise the policy by next month which envisages semi-knocked down (SKD) kits and completely knocked down (CKD) kits in the country.

“The companies will opt for SKD, which is the assembly of sets with imported parts and in later stages manufacturing of parts will begin in the country under CKD,” said an EDB official.

EDB is a government body that works to support the engineering sector and comes under the ministry of industries and production.

The EDB, which, has suggested that duties on the parts be reduced and certain benefits offered for manufacturing of the parts so that the mobile sets assembled through SKD and CKD become cheaper than the mobile sets imported as completely built units (CBU).

The adviser was told that out of 26 approvals 15 mobile phone set assembly units were operating mainly in Karachi and central Punjab, but these were only producing analogue sets and just a limited number of units were assembling smartphones locally.

A senior EDB official told Dawn that because of the inflow of top-of-the-line smuggled smartphones local assembling of the phones had been held back.

But he said that “following stern actions by the PTA [Pakistan Telecommunica­tions Authority], smuggling of mobile phones has stopped as these sets will be non-functional in the country,” the official told the meeting, adding that high duty structures had also discouraged the import of smartphones.

The adviser said at the meeting that the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were providing technical and financial support through various incentives by granting tax holidays and duty exemptions on parts which are used in mobile phone sets and other electronic goods.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019

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