ISLAMABAD: The mobile phone manufacturers have slammed the government for not abiding by their words and policies, which was essential to invite global giant like Apple to establish their unit in the country.

Addressing a mobile device manufacturing summit here on Tuesday, the office bearers of Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturing Association (PMPMA) claimed that even iPhone was ready to come to Pakistan but was reluctant due to inconsistent government policies.

Organised by the Engineering Development Board (EDB) the speakers said lack of policy directives and the tug of war between various government departments and ministries were the main hurdle to growth in the mobile manufacturing in Pakistan.

However, the keynote speaker Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Syed Murtaza Mehmood stressed the need for localisation of parts of mobile phone, cheap labour productivity and setting export targets.

He said everybody was responsible for the current state of affairs at the economic front, but added that long-term policies can help overcome this situation.

Around 31 mobile devices manufacturing companies displayed their technology and products including Xiaomi, Realmi, Infinix, Tecno, Itel, Alcatel, G-Five, Oppo, Vivo, Premier Code, etc.

The speakers said up to $2.6 billion had been invested in the local mobile manufacturing industry in the country.

Vice Chairman Mobile Manufacturing Association Muzzaffar Piracha said that the mobile phone exports from China were around $140 billion, “And the Chinese want to establish some of their units in Pakistan but only if the government provides enabling environment to mobile manufacturers. The exports in the industry could cross the $14 billion mark within three years, he added.

“The current policy was made in 2020 and we started works in 2021 and by the end of 2022 only because of enabling environment, we met 95pc of local mobile phone demands,” Mr Piracha said, adding “The mobile manufacturers want support from the government to enhance the exports.”

He said all major brands are in Pakistan, except for Apple and the ministry of IT has to talk to them along with other stakeholders such as ministry of industries as well as the finance ministry.

“Arrival of Apple will add positive sentiments to the mobile phone manufacturing sector,” he said.

The speakers said that mobile sets packaging, and some accessories have become localised and as the sector grows other allied equipment like chargers too can be made in the country but criticised the government for backtracking on its commitments.

Vice President of Mobile Manufacturing Association Aamir Allahwala said: “We have people who want to invest in the mobile industry but they need continuity in policies, like Vietnam which was exporting mobile phones worth $57 billion annually only because they have followed the policy offered to the investors who arrived in that country in 2014.” Mr Allahwala said.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023

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