The federal government is mulling amendments to the Import Policy Order, partially allowing the import of cellphones, as the complete ban is resulting in huge revenue loss to the national exchequer, according to sources.
The Ministry for Industries and Production, the Cabinet Secretariat, and Customs have suggested revoking the ban on the import of cell phones as it generates taxes worth millions of rupees, the sources said.
The sources privy to the matter said that a notification in this regard is expected to be issued during the current week.
On May 19, the government had imposed a ban on the import of 38 non-essential luxury items, including mobile phones, under an emergency economic plan to stabilize the depleting foreign exchange reserves and rising import bill.
The Commerce Ministry had issued SRO 598 of 2022 to amend the Import Policy Order. The SRO specified 800 Pakistan Customs Tariff Headings (PCT) headings of banned items in 33 different categories.
Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $1.946 billion during the first eleven months (July-May) of 2021-22, registering a growth of 4.62 percent, which has generated huge revenue for the national exchequer.
The federal government is also likely to lift the ban on shipments that had already arrived at Karachi port before its decision regarding the import ban.
In this regard, an assurance was also given by Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar during a meeting with a high-level delegation of businessmen from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the sector experts, the government is considering the amendment in SRO because a complete ban is hurting tax revenues and it is also not helpful in local mobile and auto assembly. The government will likely relax the ban but with some heavy taxes.