ISLAMABAD – Apropos an article titled “Economy suffers due to mobile devices registration tax” which was published in The Nation on November 18, 2019, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has clarified that the article presents a skewed and incorrect image of the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS).
Since implementation of the system, the use of fake, sub-standard mobile devices being imported via informal channels has been curbed. Consequently, there has been an increase in government revenues as well as allowing a level playing field for the industry to do fair business. The assumption that DIRBS has reduced tax collection is, therefore, incorrect. In fact, commercial imports after the implementation have seen a significant increase of approximately 110% from previous year, as seen in the comparative analysis of data reviewed by PTA. Individual imports of mobile devices prior to system implementation was an untapped area. Due to the system, individual applicants can now register their personal devices alongside payment of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) custom duties/taxes. 2 billion rupees in taxes have been collected in this individual category by FBR.
Furthermore, the claim of the article regarding low revenue generation from smartphone imports is also against the facts. There has been a 36% increase in revenue generation/collection from mobile device imports from previous year according to FBR. It is also pertinent to mention that as per analysis of DIRBS data, smartphone adoption amongst the public has seen an upward trend where the use of PTA approved smart phones (4G enabled devices) has risen from 16% in Jan 2018 to 29% in Oct 2019.
Contrary to the article’s insinuations of companies’ suffering since the implementation of the system, the local assembly of mobile devices has seen a significant rise. Over 24 companies have setup their assembly plants in Pakistan creating approximately 8000 jobs in technical areas and enabling skill development in the youth. Moreover, it is regretted that the newspaper or the writer of the article did not contact PTA for official version which could have made the article balanced and accurate.