Around 860 mobile phones have been confiscated from a flight bound from Dubai to Peshawar. Upon receiving a tip authorities checked the Emirates airline coming from Dubai, where they found three bags and four cartons full of mobile phones.
The authorities have found mobile phones of Samsung, HTC, LG etc. The total worth of these devices is around 2 Crore and 85 lakh rupees. They also confiscated around 5700 memory cards that were being smuggled into our country.
Smuggled phones cater around 59 percent of the Pakistani market, thus causing a loss of $ 1.1 billion to the national exchequer regarding customs duties and other state taxes applicable. The major cause of this number is the high taxes imposed on the legal import of mobile phones.
Mobile phone imports have decreased in the last few months. From July til October 2016, it reached $198 million which is 18% lower than the average number. Also, the share of smartphones in total imports have also dropped in Pakistan.
These are very startling numbers as the rise of the smuggled mobile phones industry is not just hurting the handset industry but also is looting the government by not paying their taxes. We previously reported that around 80 percent of iPhones sold in Pakistan are illegal and have been smuggled into the country.
Recently, State Bank has issued an order of imposing a 100 percent cash margin requirement on the import of certain consumer items including mobile phones. This action will likely increase the prices of phones in the market and would further alleviate level playing field from the industry.