Cen­tre to in­tro­duce duty for un­reg­is­tered phones

The Gulf Today - - ASIA - BY TARIQ BUTT

IS­LAM­ABAD: The government has de­cided in prin­ci­ple to in­tro­duce Reg­u­la­tory Duty (RD) with a mi­nor penalty for un­reg­is­tered used mobile phone sets de­pend­ing upon the cat­e­gory they be­long to.

The blocked mobile phone will be un­blocked only fol­low­ing the pay­ment of RD along with the penalty at the near­est cus­toms point.

It has been es­ti­mated that im­ports of il­le­gal phones in the mar­ket cause roughly $1.5 bil­lion in rev­enue losses to the government ex­che­quer an­nu­ally.

Con­trary to this, the le­gal im­ports value of mobile phones reached $847.656 mil­lion in 2017-18. Over the years, the le­gal im­ports dropped which at one time crossed $1b mark fol­low­ing an in­crease in the cus­toms duty lead­ing to their smug­gling.

It has been ob­served that most of the used and re­fur­bished mobile phones that are be­ing smug­gled into the coun­try us­ing dif­fer­ent chan­nels will be blocked through De­vice Iden­ti­ica­tion, Reg­is­tra­tion and Block­ing Sys­tem (DIRBS) mech­a­nism.

In May 2018, the Pak­istan Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­ity (PTA) launched the DIRBS mech­a­nism to counter the spread of sub­stan­dard and used phones be­ing smug­gled into the coun­try.

An oficial said that from Nov.15 on­ward all con­sumers will text the In­ter­na­tional Mobile Equip­ment Iden­tity (IMEI) num­ber printed on the box of a new hand­set to 8484.

Con­se­quently, the con­sumers will re­ceive re­ply that the set is com­pli­ant with the reg­u­la­tory stan­dards or not.

In case of non-com­pli­ant, a mes­sage will be sent to the con­sumer to pay the cus­toms duty along with penalty within two months. After which all un­reg­is­tered mobile phones will be­come us­able.

Ac­cord­ing to the PTA, nearly 160m com­pli­ant and non-com­pli­ant mobile de­vices are ac­tive on all the net­works be­fore the launch of DIRBS.

The oficial said the government is work­ing on de­vis­ing reg­u­la­tory duty rates for used mobile phones to be noti­ied after ap­proval of the fed­eral cab­i­net.

Three dif­fer­ent sum­maries will be sent to the cab­i­net shortly in this re­gard, the source said, adding that th­ese sum­maries will be sub­mit­ted by the in­for­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy depart­ment, com­merce divi­sion and the Fed­eral Board of Rev­enue (FBR).

Cur­rently, the FBR has noti­ied new rates of reg­u­la­tory du­ties on im­port of new mobile sets. The rate of reg­u­la­tory duty is Rs250 per mobile set worth less than $60.

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