Mobile phone imports witnessed a decline of 3.31 percent in the first half of current fiscal year (July-December) 2018-19 as they stood at $364.047 million compared to $376.495 million during the same period last year.
Mobile phone imports in December 2018, which stood at $59.396 million, registered an 18.69 percent decline as compared to $73.045 million imports in December 2017.
Last month’s figure was higher by 34.26 percent when compared to $44.273 million in November 2018. These figures were revealed in the latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Overall telecom imports saw a decline of 11.7 percent during July-December 2018 when compared to the same period last year. Total imports were recorded at $655.926 million during this period when compared to $742.801 million in July-December 2017, while registering a 12.95 percent growth in December 2018. This figure stood at $110.006 million in December as compared to $97.390 million during November 2018.
Other telecom apparatus imports witnessed a phenomenal decline of over 20.32 percent in July-December (2018-19) as they stood at $291.879 million against $366.306 million during the same period of last year. When compared to November 2018, other telecom apparatus imports registered a 4.78 percent decline in December as they were $50.610 million compared to $53.152 million in November 2018.
However, according to market sources, mobile phones in a huge quantity worth millions of dollars are being smuggled to the country, evading duties and taxes, which results in huge loss to the national exchequer.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has estimated an increase revenue from the import of mobile devices by around $200 million annually if the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) is implemented.
The DIRBS implementation is expected to generate additional revenue, besides helping in reducing security challenges. Over 37,000 mobile devices were registered during the last around one month.
To curtail the counterfeit mobile phone usage, discourage mobile phone theft and protect consumer interest, in line with Telecom policy 2015, issued by Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom, PTA has developed DIRBS at PTA premises.
The system will contribute towards improved law and order within the country by negating narrative of mobile snatching and stealing. It will also improve the quality of service of cellular mobile operators as well as discourage the counterfeit devices, fake IMEIs and duplicate IMEIs on mobile networks, an official added.