Senate Committee Recommends Duty-Free Import of One Mobile Phone

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, with a majority vote, has recommended the import of one mobile in personal baggage and asked the same from the FBR.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi said that baggage rule was misused in the past, compelling the government to withdraw the facility and resulting in duty/taxes being applicable on every mobile handset import.

He added that the recommendation for allowing duty-free import of Mobile Phones under the baggage rule would be tabled before the federal cabinet.

FBR Under Fire for Taxing All Mobile Phone Imports:

The parliamentary panel, which met with Rubina Khalid in the chair, dismissed FBR’s suggestion to withdraw the facility and stated that instead of blocking loopholes in the system and improving check and balance, the Board took away the facility which annoyed international passengers, especially overseas Pakistanis, hurting every segment of the society including students and other individuals.


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The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) confronted FBR on taxes on mobile phone imports, saying that it was affecting the IT sector’s growth negatively as well as the digital agenda of the government.

The senators from the government benches also opposed the government’s decision of imposing a duty on import of even a single mobile phone handset. The committee recommended to suspend an order of FBR and allow one duty-free mobile phone import under the baggage rules and passed the motion with a majority.

The Committee was of the view that wealthy people can afford any price of phones and taxes levied on them but the larger part of the population, who are using phones for multiple purposes, cannot afford it.

FBR gave a briefing on reasons for the withdrawal of customs duty exemption on the imported phone per the calendar year under the personal baggage rules.


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It informed the committee that the duty-free allowance on the import of mobile phones was withdrawn because the facility was being misused. Data of international arriving passengers was being stolen and the passport numbers and flight data was being used to enter data details in the Mobile Device Registration Software to claim an exemption under the baggage rules.

Furthermore, the government desired that there should be uniformity in the application of duty/taxes whether brought into Pakistan by passengers or locally procured and, therefore, the exemption was withdrawn to avoid this anomaly.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that more than 0.6 million units were imported under the baggage rule and most of them were high-end and expensive, and it was reported that the facility was being misused. He further said that taxes were reviewed and reduced for commercial and baggage imports.

He further said that more than 10 million mobile phone handsets were imported during 2018-19 and the government collected around Rs 28.8 billion in taxes. However during the first four months of the current fiscal year, around 7.6 million phones were imported and the government collected Rs 15.1 billion under the head of duties and taxes, indicating that imports increased.

Senators Faisal Javed and Shahzad Waseem said that mobile phones are not only for calls but also for businesses.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Shehzad Waseem, Faisal Javed Khan, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Abdur Rehman Malik, Sana Jamali, Fida Muhammad, Hasil Bizenjo, Chairman FBR, Secretary IT&T, SSP Rawalpindi, Director Cyber Crimes FIA and other officials.


  • FBR and PTA instead of fixing their flawed system doing their jobs decided that they can just not do their jobs and charge the overseas Pakistanis more money. Great minds.

    How hard is it for PTA to implement a mobile sms code verification at the time of account creation for DIRBS?

  • Why the government is not charging mobile duty in card load, instead of duty on mobile at import stage the government can deduct the same duty on every mobile, whenever every citizend load a top up card for recharging mobile

  • Why senate committee is eager to allow duty free mobiles, beside the fact that it was heavily miss used in the past? Out of 600k phones 400k was registered under baggage rule. For travellers and tourists the time may be extended to 4 months or more (via dirbs) based on their visa. I guess the baggage rule was benififing these CHORS sitting in the senate, I’m listening their screams since the very first day. Duties can be rationalized but this (duty free) should not be allowed in any case.

    • If it was misused it was due to FBR’s bloody incompetence. Why are they passing this burden to us Overseas Community? So Even If I bought a phone for personal use I will now have to pay 40K. Absurd.

  • 1. One Time Password (OTP) can be introduced for registration purpose of mobile phone in the same way as banks use this method for safe transactions.
    2. Bio metric verification can be introduced for mobile registration as well. Since its already in use for issuance of sim card.

  • Either this or that; have consistent long term policies for God’s sake!!! Every other day, some government/cabinet lackeys changes the policy resulting in chaos and misinformation.

  • One time password (OTP) and biometric is the solution for registration at least one set should be duty free because most of the overseas are middle class and they are paying everything from their earnings

  • Did someone try to use this facility?
    I have heard that this news is fake. Can someone confirm this?

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