Pakistan to start exporting mobile phones from next year: adviser

Hamza HabibOur Correspondent

28th Jul, 2021. 03:05 pm
Mobile phones

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will start exporting mobile phones from next year, a senior government official said.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood said this in a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce held at the Parliament House on Tuesday.

The adviser apprised the meeting, chaired by the Committee chairman Senator Zeeshan Khanzada that Pakistan would start exporting mobile phones in January 2022.

A Chinese company is setting up a factory in Karachi for mobile manufacturing; however, Samsung is not investing in Pakistan, he added.

“We wanted Samsung to come to Pakistan. We contacted Samsung mobile company twice, but they apologised,” he said.

The adviser’s statement surprised many because Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, was set to assemble mobile phones in Pakistan by December in a joint venture with Lucky Group.

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar had congratulated the Lucky Group and Samsung on entering into a joint venture to manufacture smartphones in Pakistan.

When contacted, no one was available from the Lucky Group management to give a response on the adviser’s statement.

Dawood informed the committee that rice exports to China had been halted due to the coronavirus. Executive director general commerce said coronavirus was found on the sacks of Pakistani rice, due to which China stopped the import of rice from Pakistan.

“Coronavirus was also found in the packaging of six fish companies due to which China has curtailed imports from these six companies. Now China comes to inspect the rice itself, he said.

Expressing displeasure over the absence of the Commerce secretary, the members of the committee said if all of the members from distant areas of the country participate in the committee, then why the Commerce secretary cannot ensure his presence in the committee meeting?

The commerce additional secretary replied that the Commerce secretary is busy in Karachi, preparing for the Expo 2020.

Senator Danesh Kumar said that if the Commerce secretary, in future, attends the meeting next time, he will be barred from attending the committee meeting.

Senator Fida Muhammad urged the committee chairman to write a letter to the Senate chairman against the behaviour of the Commerce secretary.

The adviser apprised the committee that the government’s focus has been on increasing exports for the last two-and-a-half years. Despite the Covid-19, the companies did not witness any cash flow problems.

He said: “Sometimes we get confused about whether there is a subsidy or not? We have not given any subsidy to the energy sector,” he added.

Dawood also said that the sector should be provided electricity at par with the industries of the rival countries. The new duty drawback on taxes and levies (DLTL) policy will be extended to new areas, besides the traditional ones.

He emphasised Pakistan’s exports are minimal, and we have to look towards new sectors. We are bringing 11 new sectors, including engineering goods, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, fruits and vegetables, meat, and poultry, which will further improve the country’s exports.

The Commerce Ministry officials gave a comprehensive briefing to the committee on the Strategic Trade Policy Framework.

The Trade Policy DG briefed the committee that trade targets in the last two programmes were not realistic. The export targets were set too high to be attained. In the previous trade policies, the emphasis was on three markets, including China and the EU, compared with 2019/20, the exports increased last year, he added.

The Commerce additional secretary said the government has curbed the energy rates for the industries and reduced the raw materials.

The sales tax has diminished, and the industry has been given incentives. “We have created new trading partners,” he said, adding that the IT-related exports have also increased and “we expect that IT exports will be doubled next year”.

“Our emphasis on exports in new development sectors other than the traditional sectors.”

Expressing concern, Senator Muhammad Qasim, while addressing the adviser, said that some foreign companies come for seafood, which has left the fishermen in a nasty situation.

Senator Fida Muhammad raised the question that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has several marble and mineral industries and the ministry should also focus on these areas, he added. After the merger if the people of the integrated areas are not given loans, how will they set up industries? He questioned.

The committee chairman said the funding ratio of loans in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is meagre. The loan funding rate in KP is 1 per cent, while in Balochistan, it is less than 0.5 per cent.

Razak Dawood assured the committee that they would resolve the problem, while focusing on marble and minerals.

Briefing on the overall imports and exports from 2011 to 2021 and the Textile Policy 2020/25 was recessed till the next meeting.

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