Import of mobile save $410m in foreign exchange

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ISLAMABAD: The import of manufactured or completely built units (CBU) declined by 73 per cent year-on-year to $179 million in the first five months of the current fiscal year from $661m a year ago.

The drop helped save $410m in foreign exchange for the country owing to the implementation of the mobile manufacturing policy, Adviser on Commerce Razak Dawood said on Tuesday.

In contrast, the import of mobile phone components for local assembly increased by 407pc to $674m from $133m last year. He further said locally assembled mobile phones are cheaper than $200 as a result of this policy.

In Pakistan, about 80pc to 85pc of the market is for phones priced at $200 or below. As a result of the mobile policy – which contains duty incentives for enhancing mobile phone assembling in the country – majority of phones under $200 are now being assembled in Pakistan.

In terms of market shares, the Chinese manufacturers control about half of the market as they were quick to utilise 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 condition which are then assembled in Pakistan. This is not only saving foreign exchange but also boosting industrial activity and creating employment. Mr Dawood said Sams­ung has also recently started assembling mobile phones in Pakistan.

“All over the world, smartphones have now become a necessity as many SMEs now run their businesses on mobile phones. 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,” the adviser said.

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