Overseas Pakistanis pay Dh115 million in taxes for taking phones back home – News

Travellers and overseas Pakistanis paid 34.5% more when compared to the first seven months of last year for bringing mobile phones to Pakistan.

Pakistani expatriates from the UAE and other countries paid nearly Rs5 billion (Dh115.3 million; US$31.4 million ) in duties to the government in the first seven months of current fiscal year for bringing mobile phones to the country.

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Data from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) revealed that travellers and overseas Pakistanis paid 34.5 per cent more when compared to the first seven months of last year for bringing mobile phones to Pakistan, Dawn newspaper reported.

The increase in revenues for the FBR from import of smart phones is due to the fact that people in Pakistan can’t use any non-duty paid/smuggled phone without paying taxes and registration to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). This rule came into effect from July 2019, when government withdrew the facility for overseas Pakistanis of carrying duty-free mobile handsets under the baggage rules.

However, the number of mobile phones brought by overseas Pakistanis and travellers fell to 0.727 million between July 2020 to January 2021 as compared to 1.033 million in same period last year.

Hammad Azhar, Pakistan’s Minister for Production and Industries, had said that the deployment of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System curbed smuggling of phones, which was followed up by the Mobile Manufacturing Policy.

As a result of this joint initiative by Pakistan Customs and PTA to curb smuggling of mobile phones, Pakistan has received increased foreign investment in mobile phones as 17 companies are now manufacturing mobile phones in the country.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo is one of the latest player to announce establishing a mobile phone manufacturing facility in Pakistan. The facility will begin production from March 2021. Q-Mobile, G-Five, Infinix and Tecno are already manufacturing mobile phones in Pakistan.

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