Pakistan Has Saved Over $410 Million in Forex Thanks to “Made in Pakistan” Smartphones

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the government is determined to make Pakistan a hub of mobile phone manufacturing and export.

The advisor made these remarks while presiding over a meeting to examine the progress made towards the export of locally-manufactured mobile phones from Pakistan under the Make-in-Pakistan policy.

The import of manufactured or completely built units (CBU) is on the decline while that of mobile phone components (CKD) is on the rise. During July-November 2021, the import of CBUs decreased by 73 percent to $179 million as compared to $661 million during the same period last year. This saved $410 million in foreign exchange. In contrast, the import of mobile phone components for local assembly increased by 407 percent to $674 million from $133 million last year.

“Our vision is to make Pakistan a hub of mobile phone manufacturing and export. The export of mobile phones will soon start which will earn foreign exchange for the country,” the advisor said.

The advisor said that all over the world, smartphones have now become a necessity as many small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME) now run their businesses on mobile phones.

He said that at the start of this government, Pakistan was a net importer of mobile phones but the situation has now been reversed and jobs are also being created in this sector.

Earlier, the advisor was informed that in Pakistan, about 80 to 85 percent of the market is for phones priced at $200 or below. He was informed that as a result of the mobile phone manufacturing policy, which contains duty incentives for enhancing mobile phone assembling in Pakistan, the majority of phones cheaper than $200, are now assembled in Pakistan. It was told that this was complemented by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)’s Device Identification and Registration System (DIRBS) which has curbed the smuggling of mobile phones.

The meeting was further informed that in terms of market share, the Chinese manufacturers control about half of the market as they were quick to utilize the incentives offered by the government and hence have the “first-mover’s advantage” in the market. These assemblers are importing mobiles in semi knocked-down (SKD) condition which are then assembled in Pakistan. This is not only saving foreign exchange but also boosting industrial activity and creating employment. He was further informed that Samsung has also recently started assembling mobile phones in Pakistan.

The advisor was informed that the success of the mobile phone manufacturing policy was also evident from the import figures during the first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period in the previous year.

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