Mobile handsets’ import drops by 16pc in three months

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KARACHI:(Parliament Times) Mobile phone imports in Pakistan went down by 15.21 percent during the first quarter of current financial year 2016-17 (July-September) as compared to the same period of previous year.

Total imports of mobile phone stood at $146.57 million while it was $172.87 million in the same period last year, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Industry experts attributed this slowdown in mobile imports mainly to the overall economic slowdown witnessed in first quarter of current fiscal.

“Drop in mobile imports during first quarter of this fiscal is due to a general slowdown in economic activity. The overall output of mobile phones has been falling steadily ever since the government has made it mandatory to get No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for mobile handset imports form any where in the world,” said Karachi Electronics and Small Traders Association’s president Muhammad Rizwan Irfan.

He also said that intense competition among mobile manufacturing companies has led to significant drop in profit margins of retailers due to which small traders are having trouble to continue their businesses.

Similarly, overall telecom imports in Pakistan dropped in the said period to $277.69 million, registering 11.2 percent yearly growth as compared to telecom imports worth of $312.79 million in same period of FY16.

Due to almost completion of next generation technologies’ network roll out in the country, import of mobile apparatus also dipped by 6.29 percent in July-September of 2016.

Telecom companies imported $131.13 million worth of telecom accessories and machinery in the first quarter of FY17 while it stood at 139.93 million in same period of previous fiscal.

Despite rapid penetration of smart phones in Pakistan due to expanding 3G and 4G networks, legal import bill of mobile phones remained on downward trajectory mainly due to complex procedure and higher taxation on imports as grey imports of mobile phones continue to see rise.

In the month of September 2016, mobile phone imports decreased significantly by 20.19 percent as Pakistani imported $53.85 million worth of mobile phones in the said month as compared to $67.48 million in same month of 2015.

Likewise, overall telecom imports declined by 13.67 percent to $103.22 million in September 2016, compared to $119.56 million of telecom imports in September 2015 while import of telecom apparatus and accessories fell by 5.22 percent in September 2016 to $49.36 million when compared to overall import of telecom apparatus worth $52.08 million in corresponding month of FY16.