ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s imports of cellphones swelled by 56.74 per cent to $1.54 billion in the first nine months of 2020-21 compared to $979.965 million over the corresponding period last year.
Since July 1, 2019, the government has withdrawn the facility of duty-free mobile handset arrivals under the baggage rules from abroad. At the same time, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in collaboration with PTA introduced Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBs) to discourage smuggling and trade in non-duty paid cellphones.
With an increasing trend for e-commerce, business meetings and online education in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a surge in demand for low-cost smartphones in the range of Rs10,000-40,000 has grown sharply.
Korean and Chinese manufacturers offer one to two new cellphones every one to two months in the range of Rs15,000-25,000 with 2/3 GB RAM and 32/64 GB storage options.
The FBR collection also posted hefty growth on regular import of mobile sets in 9MFY21. It has emerged as one of the major revenue spinners for FBR in the category of machinery as most of the machinery are still duty-free.
Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2021