ACCORDING to Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Pakistan will start exporting mobile phones in January 2022.
In a testimony before the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce chaired by Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, the Advisor said a Chinese company was setting up a mobile phone manufacturing factory in Karachi and plans to export phones from January.
This is, indeed, a positive development, which augurs well not just for people of Pakistan but also the economy of the country.
This is because Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $2.65 billion during the financial year 2020-21 and local manufacturing and export of devices would help save precious foreign exchange and also earn more foreign exchange with the passage of time.
Pakistan was an attractive market for mobile manufacturers as it has a reasonably large home market having more than 178 million subscribers, which have increased approximately one percent per month during last one year, 83.3 per cent tele-density and has an efficient Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in place.
However, the potential remained untapped in the absence of any planning and policy and in this backdrop the approval of the Mobile Device Manufacturing policy by the present Government to promote local manufacturing and assembly of mobile handsets has started yielding positive results.
A Chinese company has taken the lead in establishing an assembly plant while a joint venture has also been announced by a Korean company and a Pakistani group for local manufacturing of Samsung phones.
However, mere assembly of units or production of outdated 2G models would not help much to the country and therefore, consultations should be held with all stakeholders to update the policy to ensure local research and development in line with the 5G era and adoption of a clearcut deletion programme by manufacturers.