Over the last year, Pakistan Customs earned a massive PKR 54 billion on the import of mobile devices through Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBs). In addition, a customs official has disclosed that TCL and Alcatel, the multinational tech giants, are interested in investing in Pakistan’s booming cell phone development industry.
Pakistan Customs, in partnership with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), introduced DIRBs to stamp down on the country’s use of smuggled devices. The implementation of this system has clearly been successful, as data released by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) shows that the rise in mobile import revenue is largely down to DIRBs. Infact the current figure of sales reflects a huge rise of 145 percent over the previous year.
The introduction of DIRBs has also attracted considerable investment in the region, according to a customs official. Chinese telecommunications giant TCL is allegedly preparing to invest with Airlink in Pakistan’s mobile industry, while French mobile phone maker Alcatel (owned by Nokia and TCL) is also investigating the possibility of joining the Pakistani ecosystem.
The official also pointed out that a total of 17 companies in Pakistan are currently producing cell phones.
Back in May, the government launched a policy for the manufacture of mobile phones to improve the local handset industry. Under the scheme, three percent of the government allowance will be given to local producers for cell phone exports and locally produced sets will be exempted from the 4pc withholding tax on domestic sales.
The strategy has made an enormous contribution to growing the local market for smartphones. In the local space, related industries such as packaging, plastics, and IT software have also gained a stronger presence.