Mobile Phone Imports Increased by 6.64% in Current Financial Year (2015-16)

Mobile phone imports in Pakistan have increased by 6.64 percent during the first ten months (July-April) of the current financial year (2015-16) as compared to the same period of previous year.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), total imports of mobile phone stood at $635.342 million while they were $595.778 million in the same period last year.

Overall telecom imports saw decline of 1.83 percent during July- April 2015-16 compared to the same period in the last year. Total imports were recorded at $1157.89 million compared to $1179.49 million in the same period in the last year.

Other telecom apparatus import also witnessed significant decline of 10.48 percent during this period as it stood at $522.55 million during July-April (2015-16) against $583.71 million during the same period of last year.

Confiscated Phones Unable to Be Auctioned:

Besides, this different collectorates have confiscated thousands of mobile phones. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) can generate handsome amount of revenue through auction of the confiscated smuggled phones. However, the government is not considering any measure to dispose of thousands of confiscated mobile phones by different collectorates. The condition of over thousands of confiscated smuggled mobile phones has deteriorated at different ports. Thousands of smuggled smart phones have been confiscated but the customs is unable to conduct the auction due to conditions of the PTA.

As the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has placed the condition of type approval for the imported mobile phones, it is unable to auction the phones confiscated by the customs at airports etc
Interestingly, the government is losing huge revenue on account of delay in the auction of mobile phone sets.

The condition of type approval by the PTA for the smuggled phones is unnecessary. The smuggled phones have been seized and ready for auction under the law. But the customs is unable to do the same due to such unrealistic conditions on the smuggled phones. Resultantly, all such confiscated smuggled goods would become junk in coming days.

Additional Taxes on Mobile Phones Planned:

Further, the continued regressive tax policy is also hindering in this regard. The government is planning to double sales tax i.e. from Rs 500 and 1000 to 1000 and 2000 respectively for medium and high category/smart phones on the import of mobile phone sets in budget (2016-17). The outcome in this regard would be automatically passed on to the consumers; hence mobile phones rate may go up.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Pakistan remained one of the fastest growing markets for smartphones shipments in 2015 – 123% growth was registered in smartphone shipments to Pakistan between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015.

In the next two years, smartphones are expected to cross 55% of mobile phone imports. Smart phone adoption in Pakistan is expected to grow due to expanding 3G and 4G networks (currently 3G services are available in more than 200 cities and towns) and more affordable smartphones are available in the market.