The country’s local production of mobile phone handsets is likely to increase in the coming days as the government is encouraging local entrepreneurs/ manufacturers by increasing mobile import duty in the budget for the next fiscal year.
The proposal was also made to extend the existing VAT exemption facility for local mobile phone manufacturing and assembly companies in the country for another two years in the budget.
As most of the mobile phones currently used in the country are manufactured and assembled in this country the proposal was made to expand the mobile phone and information technology sector at the local level.
Traders of the sector are thinking that as a result of import duty increase, investment in local mobile production will increase in the country.
However, to export such handsets after meeting the local demand, traders now want more policy and cash assistance for the sector.
According to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA) statistics, local companies assembled 85 percent mobiles for the local demand last year.
BMPIA general secretary Zakaria Shahid said, “The demand for mobile phones in the country is more than three crore a year. Of these, 1.10 crore are smart and 2.20 crore, feature phones. Of these, 90 percent smartphones and 80 percent feature phones are being made in the country”.
“So far, out of 13, 11 companies have started production taking licenses from authorities concerned. Producers are happy that the tariff on mobile phone imports has been increased from 32 to 58 percent in the budget,” added Zakaria Shahid.
M. A. Hanif, Head of sales and marketing of Symphony Mobile told Bangladesh Post, “It is certainly good news for us. Before to save time some important parts for mobile manufacturing had to be imported from abroad. After imposing import duty, almost all brands will now start production locally here”.
“As the government has imposed additional import duty, now the importers will have to bear around 25 percent extra cost, which they would want to avoid. Due to such imposition, both industry investments will increase and employment opportunities created,” Hanif added.
At present, 26 percent of mobile phones in the country are illegally imported and manufactured. The traders also demanded the government to be strict in stopping this.
Local mobile handset manufacturing started its journey in 2017. Following the Walton mobile local production, a total of 10 brands including Samsung, Symphony, Oppo, Realme started producing mobile phones in the country.
These brands produce 55 percent of the local demand for smartphones and feature phones.
BIMPA information also showed that the import of smartphones has been falling rapidly in the last few years. Until October last year, 9.5 lakh smartphones were imported which was 24 lakh in 2019.