Courtesy no manufacturing of mobile phones in Pakistan, mobile phones import witnessed a phenomenal growth of 19.28 percent in the first eleven months (July-May 2017-18) as it remained $759.969 million compared to $637.14 million during the same period of July-May 2016-17.
Mobile phones import in May 2018 increased by 25.64 percent and remained $81.362 million against $64.76 million import in May 2017, while with an increase of 7.72 percent remained $75.53 million in April 2018 against the same month of the last fiscal year, revealed the latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Overall telecom import saw an increase of 11.77 percent during July-May 2017-18 compared to the same period of last year. Total import was recorded at $1.396 billion during this period compared to $1.249 billion in July-May 2016-17. Telecom import remained $129.835 million in May 2018 and registered 10.39 percent growth, as compared to $117.613 million during May 2017.
Other telecom apparatus import also witnessed growth of over 3.95 percent in July-May 2017-18 as they stood at $636.057 million against $611.872 million during the same period of the last year.
The caretaker government is reportedly mulling on policy guidelines to reduce import bill by rationalizing import of mobile phone handsets and other telecom apparatus.
Pakistan’s trade deficit reached an all time high of $33.88 billion during the first eleven months of the current fiscal year with $55.23 billion import and $21.34 billion export.
Commerce Division has reportedly started preparing a list of non-essential items and the government is considering measures to rationalize non-essential import to reduce the quantum of trade deficit.
To curtail growing import and generate additional revenue, the federal government has announced a new kind of levy of up to Rs 5000 on importing mobile phone handsets in the budget for 2018-19.
According to the Finance Act 2018, there shall be levied a mobile handset levy at the rates specified on smart phones of different categories.
The levy will be zero where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) does not exceed Rs 10,000. There will be a levy of Rs 1,000 per set where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs 10,000 but does not exceed Rs 40,000. There will be a levy of Rs 3,000 where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs 40,000 but does not exceed Rs 80,000. There will be a levy of Rs 5,000 where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs 80,000 per set.
According to the Finance Act, Regulatory Duty (RD) at Rs 175/set on completely knocked down (CKD)/ semi-knocked-down (SKD) kits of mobile phone has been imposed.
However, according to experts, this may result in increase in mobile phone handsets prices and encourage the smuggling of mobile phones.