After facing strong criticism, as well as concerns from the overseas Pakistanis on new mobile import policy, the government is considering revising the policy and may allow at least two duty free phones.
The overseas Pakistanis, telecom operators and industry experts had expressed concerns over the government’s new policy to allow only one duty free mobile phone for the overseas travelers.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had also reportedly taken up the issue of imposition of duties on imported mobile phones with the government but remained unsuccessful in convincing the government.
The overseas Pakistanis will not only have to stand in one extra-queue for the registration of their own phones but would also have to pay heavy duty on any gift phone they might have brought for their family or friends.
Under the new policy, aimed at curbing phone smuggling and use of unregistered phones, the PTA has introduced Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS).
The latest situations have also been confirmed by the Syed Zulfikar Hussain Bukhari, aka Zulfi Bukhari, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.
Owing to huge amount of feedback received about regulation on phones,I have requested MoS for Revenue @Hammad_Azhar to lower tax on cellphones & atleast allow 2duty free phones.We are listening to overseas Pakistanis & will do our best to facilitate Pakistanis around the world.
— Sayed Z Bukhari (@sayedzbukhari) December 14, 2018
“Owing to huge amount of feedback received about regulation on phones, I have requested Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar to lower tax on cell phones and at least allow two duty free phones. We are listening to overseas Pakistanis & will do our best to facilitate Pakistanis around the world”
Few days back Bukhari had stated that the mobile tax policy has no impact on visiting overseas Pakistanis.
With devices worth Rs 110 billion smuggled annually mainly through airports, this measure only helps broaden tax net & encourage local manufacturers”, he added.
The FBR’s Customs authorities are registering mobile phones under the newly placed system at all the international airports. Each passenger is currently allowed to bring only one duty free phone from abroad while he/she will have to pay duty/taxes on any additional phone bought from abroad.
On December 11, State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar unveiled the new policy while saying that people travelling to Pakistan would be allowed only one duty-free mobile phone set under the new mobile tax policy and phones would not be detained during the process of registration or duty payments.
In a tweet, Hammad Azhar said for the benefit of people travelling into Pakistan from abroad, the mobile tax policy revealed that one phone is allowed to be registered as duty free. Secondly, no registration/duty is needed for any phone(s) using roaming. Thirdly, no registration/ duty is needed if phone(s) are to be used in Pakistan for less than 30 days. Moreover, no registration/duty is required on any phone that was activated or ever used in Pakistan before the 1st of December 2018.
Azhar stated that the duties and registration can be done either at the airports or at any of the Custom Houses across Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the FBR has also allowed open auction of the mobile phones. In this regard, the FBR has revised the procedure for auction of mobile phones seized by customs department and directed collectors of customs to destroy all confiscated mobile phones which are not certified/white-listed by PTA.
The FBR has also directed the customs authorities that only confiscated phones from PTA would be auctioned by customs authorities.
The FBR has directed Collectors of Model Customs Collectorates (MCCs) that the field formations shall examine the confiscated/seized mobile devices (new/used) ripe for disposal to compile the information including type of mobile phone and brands, model and IMEI numbers.
The aforesaid information both in hard/soft copy shall be forwarded to the Director (Type Approval) Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Headquarters, F-5, Islamabad for technical evaluation / certification and their white-listing in DIRBS. The soft copy shall be composed in the form of Excel Sheet with each row containing one IMEI only and shall be emailed at [email protected] through official email ids of the field formations.
The PTA afterwards shall issue certification in respect of mobile devices that are white-listed in the DIRBS. Thereafter, the field formations shall dispose of such mobile devices through open auction following the prescribed procedure.
The mobile devices which are not certified/ white-listed by PTA shall be processed for disposal through destruction in the manner approved by the collector/director in accordance with the regulatory requirements notified under any other law in force, as per FBR.