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Importers call unfair duty on used cellphones.

Byline: Usman Hanif

KARACHI -- The government has slapped the same duty on the import of used cellphones that has been imposed on new mobile phones, without taking into consideration depreciation of old handsets, which is completely unfair, remarked a second-hand cellphone importer.

Pakistan imports nearly one million used smartphones every month as these are cheaper and customers prefer them. The government had allowed the import of used phones but the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) did not issue the required Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO), said Karachi Electronics Dealers Association (KEDA) President Muhammad Rizwan Irfan at a press conference at the body's head office on Tuesday.

He pointed out that the SRO issued was not specific and imposed the same duty on both used and new cellphones.

'More than 90% of the consumers buy used handsets. Delay in issuance of the specific SRO has caused uncertainty among businessmen,' he said. 'We are in talks with all relevant stakeholders. Previously, the import of used phones was not allowed; now the new government has lifted the ban,' said Minister of State for Revenue Muhammad Hammad Azhar, when contacted for comments.

A cellphone dealer, on condition of anonymity, said he had imported Samsung S3 worth Rs5,500 but the Customs imposed a duty of Rs6,000, which made it impossible to do business as the duty was higher than the real cost. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has launched a device identification, registration and blocking system (DIRBS) earlier this year, which will block illegitimate mobile phones.

The system, which is going to be put in place by December 31 this year, will help recover stolen mobile phones as well as stop smuggling into the country. In the backdrop of the announcement of the DIRBS system, mobile imports decreased 24% in November in dollar terms.

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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 19, 2018
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