Hammad Azhar Hopes to See Smartphone Sector Bigger Than Automobile Industry

LAHORE, Mar 20 8:15pm (APP): Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar expressed the hope that smart phones manufacturing sector would prove to be even bigger from automobile industry in Pakistan and in next 10 years, its export revenues might be equal to country’s textile sector.

He was addressing as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of Airlink Smartphone Assembly Line here at Quaid-i-Azam Industrial Estate Kot Lakhpat on Saturday. Airlink Chairman Aslam Hayat Piracha, CEO Muzaffar Hayat Piracha and Engineering Development Board (EDB) Chairman Almas Hyder also spoke on the occasion, while Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Mian Tariq Misbah and a large number of businessmen and industrialists were also present.

Hammad Azhar said that effective and well-conceived industrial policies of the PTI government were now resulting into industrial revolution and robust economic growth. He mentioned that when PTI came into government in 2018, around 70 to 80 per cent of smart phones sold in the local markets were smuggled lot.

Curbing mobile phones’ smuggling was a herculean task, he continued, the government studied anti-smuggling strategies of other countries, and introduced DIRBS (Mobile Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System) under which no mobile phone could be activated in Pakistan without clearing/paying all relevant duties and taxes.

“We have also removed all the reservations and apprehensions of the traders and all other stakeholders in this regard and due to effective policies of the government, there is no smuggled phone in the local markets and the government is collecting 60 to 70 billion rupees duty/tax from mobile phones. These measures also created ample space in the local market for the local manufacturers of smart phones,” he maintained.

Federal Minister added that government had also introduced Mobile Phones Manufacturing Policy-2020 and now five major players of this sector were setting up their manufacturing units in Pakistan. “This is our landmark journey and now we are moving from local market towards export of smart phones,” he said and cited that Vietnam’s annual export revenues from mobile phones export stood at US $ 45 billion, which forms 25 per cent of its GDP.

Hammad Azhar said that Pakistan’s witnessed eight per cent growth in large scale manufacturing sector during July 2020-January 2021 and it could become possible due to viable industrial policies of the government. He mentioned that PTI government had also introduced Electric Vehicle Policy 2020; gave biggest relief package for construction sector and also reduced/abolished duty on a number of industrial raw materials.

Unlike the previous government’s false economic growth through containing dollar rate at Rs 100, he said, the present government was ensuring real economic growth by increasing the agricultural and industrial productions. The government was also facilitating the small industrialists and in collaboration with State Bank of Pakistan and other banks, government was going to announce such a package in a month that would bring industrial revolution in the country.

He said that upcoming federal budget would entail reforms in various industrial sectors including automobile industry. Hammad Azhar said that industrial expansion in Pakistan was also bringing jobs to hundreds of thousands of individuals thus improving living standard of many poor families.

He said Airlink had been the biggest importer of mobile phones in Pakistan and today, it had established state-of-the-art factory with 100 per cent owned equity and a production capacity of six million units per annum.

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