According to Samaa the government of Pakistan, is charging a remarkably soar duty on mobile phones brought in to Pakistan.
This applies to everyone from profit-oriented importers to passengers travelling to Pakistan. All expatriates coming to Pakistan, or a Pakistani returning from an official trip abroad must pay the duty if carrying extra mobile phones.
Tax will not be payable by people carrying only one smartphone. However, people holding extra mobile phones would have to pay tax on them. Furthermore, it is not permissable to carry more than five headsets a year.
The structure of duty/tax is complicated, as stated in Samaa. However, some calculations have been done as following: If an additional mobile phone is valued at RS40,000, then a tax and other duties of RS16,100 or 40% would have to be paid, leading to an overall cost to RS56,100. Depending on the price of the handset, duty and tax will vary. The below diagram taken from (http://www.samaa.tv) shows how much to pay for the smartphone:
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Diagram from http://www.samaa.tv
Officials stated, duties will apply to both smartphones, new (packed) or used (unpacked) with an IMEI or SIM function. However, currently the government is allowing only used phones and new (packed) phones – in case of a second phone – is being charged with new Customs duty. Duties have already been confirmed by the government for used phones, and legislation is being made in regards to this.
Critics have stated, both consumers and traders will be upset by the soaring duties on imports of handsets. With these higher duties, devices will become more expensive and “out of reach for the marginalised parts, being deprived from the advantages of what internet offers”. They also stated, it will slow down internet penetration and the expansion of internet-based economy.
To stop the smuggling of mobile phones, which cost the exchequer millions in tax evasion, it is neccessary to take this step, stated the government.
The government is working to simplify the complicated old tax framework, a Customs Official stated. The aim is to initially halt smuggling, since 40% of the imports are smuggled items, he (annonymous) clarified. Furthermore, according to Samaa, he also stated: “Once, we have done away with it and simplified the tax structure, the goverment will certainly consider reducing taxes, especially on low-end phones.” (www.samaa.tv)