According to reports, Government of Pakistan is looking to allow the import of used smartphones in Pakistan. Ministry of Information and Technology will present the policy draft to Prime Minister Imran Khan in a federal cabinet meeting scheduled to convene on 23rd November. Should it get passed by the cabinet and signed by the Prime Minister, authorized distributors and commercial importers will then be allowed import used smartphones legally in the country.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and the Federal Board of Revenue, the import of used smartphones is prohibited under current laws. This has led to the creation of a large grey market of used smartphones, which is causing the national exchequer a huge loss in terms of tax money as these illegally imported used smartphones do not fall inside the tax net.
In addition to this, allowing import of used smartphones can also help reduce the import bill as smartphones make up a huge portion of imported goods and services each year. By allowing import of used smartphones, the cost associated with importing a used smartphone, including duties and tax-rates on these devices, should decrease significantly, ultimately benefiting the end user. This will also ensure that used mobiles, which are illegally imported and then sold off as new phones to unsuspecting consumers, will be put under a lot more check and balance, saving the customers from the potential headache of mistakenly purchasing illegally imported phones.
Federal cabinet will also approve measures to check to smuggle of illegal phones, which include issuance of a new deadline for verification of IMEIs through PTA’s Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS). With these measures, the only two legal ways to bring a mobile phone in Pakistan will either be commercial importing or through an individual carrying it on a personal capacity.
Federal cabinet is also expected to approve an amnesty scheme for illegally imported smartphones, through which such smartphones can be regularized by paying the appropriate amount of duty along with a fine in the range of 20 to 25 percent of its original value. This amnesty scheme will only be applicable to devices activate between October 2018 and November 2018.