Pakistan spends Rs185 billion for mobile phones import in July – January

Pakistan spends Rs185 billion for mobile phones import in July – January

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has expended a substantial amount of Rs185 billion on the import of mobile phones during the first seven months (July – January) of the fiscal year 2020/2021, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday.

This represents a significant surge in mobile phone imports, which increased by 56 percent compared to Rs118.67 billion in the corresponding months of the last fiscal year. In terms of US dollars, the import recorded a growth of 49.32 percent, reaching $1.13 billion during July – January 2020/2021, up from $760 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Market analysts attribute this sharp rise in mobile phone imports to several key factors. One major factor is the coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly limited physical movement and increased reliance on digital transactions. As people adapted to remote work, online education, and virtual social interactions, the demand for mobile phones skyrocketed. These devices have become essential tools for accessing digital services, thereby playing a crucial role in promoting the digital economy.

Furthermore, the implementation of stringent regulations by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has impacted the formal mobile phone market. The PTA’s mandate that only verified mobile phones can be activated for local services has effectively discouraged the import of phones through informal channels. This regulation has channeled more imports through official and documented means, thereby contributing to the reported increase.

Another factor influencing the surge in mobile phone imports is the depreciation of the Pak Rupee. As the value of the rupee has fallen, the cost of imported goods, including mobile phones, has risen. This depreciation makes imports more expensive in local currency terms, thus inflating the reported expenditure on mobile phone imports even if the volume of imports has not increased proportionally.

The cumulative effect of these factors highlights the growing importance of mobile phones in the Pakistani economy and society. They are not just communication tools but are pivotal in facilitating the digital transformation that has accelerated due to the pandemic. The increased expenditure on mobile phones underscores a broader trend towards digital integration and the formalization of the economy, influenced by both regulatory measures and market dynamics.

As Pakistan continues to navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic, the role of mobile phones in maintaining connectivity and supporting economic activities remains critical. The substantial increase in mobile phone imports reflects their indispensable place in contemporary life and the ongoing shift towards a more digitally connected society.