Tele­com im­ports fall 1.83pc

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

The im­ports of tele­com sec­tor re­lated items into the coun­try fell by 1.83 per­cent in first 10 months ( July- April) of cur­rent fis­cal year ( 2015- 16) as com­pared to same pe­riod of last year.

The tele­com im­ports de­creased to $ 1.1579 bil­lion dur­ing the pe­riod Ju­lyApril ( 2015- 16) from $ 1.18 bil­lion dur­ing same pe­riod of the year 2014- 15.

Ac­cord­ing to lat­est data re­leased by Pak­istan Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics ( PBS), on month- on- month ba­sis, the tele­com im­ports also fell by 9.38 per­cent from $ 122.201 mil­lion in March, 2016 to $ 110.715 mil­lion in April 2016.

On year- on- year ba­sis, the tele­com im­ports how­ever posted a growth of 1.84 per­cent as it went up to $ 110.715 mil­lion from $ 108.713 mil­lion in April, 2015.

The im­port of mo­bile phone dur­ing first 10 months of cur­rent year posted a growth of 6.64 per­cent from $ 595.778 mil­lion last year to $ 635.342 mil­lion dur­ing the pe­riod of cur­rent fis­cal year.

On year- on- year ba­sis the mo­bile phone im­port in­creased from $ 56.196 mil­lion in April, 2015 to 62.059 mil­lion thus show­ing a growth of 10.43 per cent.

How­ever on month- on- month ba­sis the mo­bile phone im­port posted a neg­a­tive growth of 18.44 per cent as the im­port dur­ing the month of March, 2016 was recorded at $ 76.094 mil­lion.

Mean­while, Zong, one of Pak­istan's largest mo­bile net­work op­er­a­tors is now sight­ing for a pos­si­ble merger in the coun­try dy­namic tele­com sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia re­ports, Zong CEO Liu Dian­feng, said that as far as the tele­com sec­tor of Pak­istan is con­cerned, there can be only three mo­bile op­er­a­tors in the coun­try as op­posed to cur­rent five, cit­ing low mar­gins on re­turn.

"It is dif­fi­cult to make prof­its in Pak­istan's mar­ket and the re­turn on in­vest­ments comes in dif­fer­ent out­lines," Liu said. "Maybe, in the fu­ture, we can think of buy­ing an op­er­a­tor," the chief added.

Liu in­formed that de­spite mas­sive in­vest­ments worth some $ 3 bil­lion, Zong is find­ing hard to bounce back.

Liu was crit­i­cal to­wards the tax­a­tion pol­icy adopted by Pak­istan's gov­ern­ment on the tele­com in­dus­try, say­ing, "To de­velop a 4G mar­ket and in­stalling these sites is a big chal­lenge es­pe­cially when the gov­ern­ment is con­tin­u­ously bur­den­ing the in­dus­try with heavy tax­a­tion, the re­cent ex­am­ple of which is the tax­a­tion pro­posal on smart­phone hand­sets."

The pos­si­ble merger would be noth­ing new to the coun­try's vi­brant tele­com sec­tor, which has wit­nessed a fair share of merg­ers and break- ups, the WaridMo­bilink merger is one re­cently ap­proved by the Pak­istan Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Authority (PTA).

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