Mobile phone imports witnessed a phenomenal growth of 18.56 percent in the first ten months (July-April) of 2017-18, costing as much as $678.6 million when compared to $572.38 million during the same period during 2016-17 (July-April).
Mobile phone imports in April 2018 totaled $75.532 million, an increase of 57.56% than the $47.938 million imports in April 2017. However, when compared to the figures witnessed in March 2018, there was a 1.96% decrease. Imports touched the $77.042 million mark in March 2018, revealed the latest data by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Overall, telecom imports saw an increase of over 11.91% during July-April 2017-2018 when compared to the same period of last year. Total imports were recorded at $1.266 billion during this period compared to $1.131 billion in July-April 2016-17. Telecom imports remained at $ 134.117 million in April 2018 and registered a 30.16% growth, as compared to $ 103.038 million during April 2017.
Other telecom apparatus imports also witnessed growth of over 5.11 percent in July-April 2017-18 as it stood at $587.584 million against $559.019 million during the same period of last year.
Mobile phone handsets prices will increase, as the federal government has announced a new levy of up to Rs 5000 on importing mobile phone handsets.
According to the Finance Bill 2018-19, 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 1000 per set where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs 10,000 but does not exceed Rs40,000.
- There will be a levy of Rs 3000 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 5000 where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs 80,000 per set.
According to the Finance Bill, a levy of Regulatory Duty (RD) @ Rs 175/set on completely knocked down (CKD)/ semi-knocked-down (SKD) kits of mobile phone has been proposed. The RD on completely knocked down (CKD)/ semi-knocked-down (SKD) kits of mobile phone was Rs 200 per set which has now been reduced to Rs 175 per set.
According to experts, this may discourage digitization and encourage the smuggling of mobile phones. The move came as an effort to curtail growing imports and generate additional revenue.