Pakistan’s Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T) Syed Amin ul Haque emphasized the need to incentivize local mobile phone manufactures to boost the IT sector.
Talking to WealthPK, Amin said promoting the local manufacture of cell phones will generate direct employment opportunities, increase per capita income and foster economic growth.
“The basic vision of local mobile manufacturing is to promote the assembling and manufacture of smart devices such as smartphones, routers, and 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G devices in Pakistan. The size of the telecom industry has grown from USD12 billion to USD26 billion in five years. This sector has contributed 5.7% to the GDP in five years as we speak today,” he added.
The minister said the government policy can make the local manufacture of smart devices less expensive by either reducing import duties on raw materials or training the labour in the manufacture of raw materials domestically.
Till now, the sector has attracted over USD7.1 billion domestic and foreign investment, contributing Rs1,121 billion to the state kitty.
The minister said 33 licenses have been issued to the companies, out of which approximately 16 to 17 units are operational right now, while the others will get functional soon.
“A total of 22 million smart phones were produced domestically in 2022 and the production is expected to exceed 60 million handsets a year. The domestic demand stands at 30-35 million sets. This shows that we have the margin to export the excess of sets to the international market like Africa, Central Asian and certain European countries, which will contribute a handsome money to the state kitty,” the minister added.
Talking about the impact of domestically manufactured mobile phones on the IT sector, he said affordability plays a major role in this regard, as the price of a domestically produced mobile phone starts from Rs18000, which is far lower than that of an imported cell phone.
Amin said the cost of internet in Pakistan is the lowest and his ministry always tries to keep it low to facilitate the development of IT and other sectors.
“For any business, the cost of doing business is equally important as the ease of doing the business. So, the telecom ministry always aims to keep the cost of doing business as low as possible irrespective of the hike in the electricity and fuel prices. During the last one year, the telecom industry has maintained the prices that are beneficial for the citizens,” he added.
Amin said the domestic manufacturing industry should opt for the ecofriendly technology to attract consumers, both nationally and internationally.
Concluding, he said, “Domestic mobile brands should be encouraged by providing them with technical, educational and financial incentives. Pakistan needs more investment in research and development to boost innovation in the manufacturing industry.”