This year, owing to the increased taxes, the mobile phone imports have decreased in Pakistan as compared to the figure recorded in November 2016 while the price of feature phones have risen up to 70 percent in November 2017, reports The Express Tribune.

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the mobile phone imports have seen a decline as this number was 65 million in November 2016 but in 2017 it stands at 58 million in the same period.

However, looking at the first five months of the fiscal year 2017-18, the total imports are 14 percent higher than what we witnessed in the same period last year i.e. this figure is $303.28 million this year as compared to $264.009 million in the same period in FY 2016-17.

This year we saw the government deceptively increasing mobile phone prices in Pakistan by placing an additional Rs. 250 regulatory duty on every mobile phone that would be imported from July 1stand merging the lower limit duty slabs of Rs. 300 and Rs. 1,000 into one single slab of Rs. 650.

Thanks to this move, importers will have to pay Rs. 350 additionally on the import of feature phones, a device which is used mostly used by people who cannot afford costly phones.

In Mid-October, FBR again increased duty on the mobile phone imports where importers now have to pay Rs. 250 on every mobile phone worth Rs. 15,000 or above and RS. 300 duty on handsets worth Rs. 6000 and above.

The increased prices have surely opened up new opportunities for the grey importers in the country. PTA has recently launched a new system to block stolen and smuggled mobile phones called ‘Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System’ (DIRBS) though we have yet to see it in action.