Cell phone manufacturers have criticized the government for not sticking to their word and policies. It was necessary to invite global giants such as Apple to establish their units in the country.
Addressing the Mobile Manufacturing Summit here on Tuesday, the holders of the Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturing Association (PMPMA) claimed that even the iPhone was ready to come to Pakistan but was hesitant due to the government’s inconsistent policies.
Organized by the Engineering Development Board (EDB), the speakers said that lack of political directives and tug-of-war between various government departments and ministries were the major obstacles to growth in mobile phone manufacturing in Pakistan.
Pakistan is a country where policies change with each new government creating an uncertain situation for foreign investors, who want legislation ensuring consistent policies, especially in the IT sector.
They pressured Pakistan to pass laws to establish a long-term policy that would allow IT companies to thrive regardless of change on top. Speaking exclusively to The Express Tribune at an event, the vice president of Asia Pacific ICT Alliances (APICTA) noted that the change in government was presenting challenges for investors.
“One of the things that the industry needs to thrive is policy consistency,” he said. He called for the adoption of a law that would ensure consistent policies for companies investing and establishing their presence in Pakistan. “If a new government emerges, there should not be a change in policies, as other countries, such as India and Vietnam, do.” He emphasized while citing an example from the countries of the region.
Inserra believes that Pakistan should be a safe country to do business and has suggested measures that the country should take to stimulate investment in startups and IT. The first step is positioning the country as a haven, not in terms of the economy, but in terms of what they do to support start-up funds and foundations, as well as encourage companies and professionals abroad to set up offices here, not to attract investment, but to increase their presence.
“You have 60% of the population under the age of 25; that is incredible and has the potential to benefit millions of people. You have the youth, the talent, the knowledge, the willingness to invest and you are trying to change perceptions,” notice. “You need to increase business like the economies of Singapore, Thailand and Australia. Pakistan is an economy and perceptions have to change.”
Inserra called on Pakistan to encourage local companies to form partnerships with their counterparts abroad and also stressed the need to develop programs for technology companies that generate revenue. He believed that the government should reward local businesses to encourage them to perform better as they can change the perception. It is just a perception that Indian companies are more advanced than Pakistani companies. Innovation and knowledge in Pakistan are no different than what is found in India,” He said.
However, the keynote speaker, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Syed Murtaza Mahmood, stressed the need to localize parts of mobile phones, cheap labor productivity, and set export targets. He said that everyone is responsible for the current situation on the economic front, but added that long-term policies can help overcome this situation.
About 31 mobile manufacturers showcased their technology and products including Xiaomi, Realms, Infinix, Tecno, Itel, Alcatel, G-Five, Oppo, Vivo, Premier Code, etc. The speakers said that up to $2.6 billion has been invested in the domestic mobile manufacturing industry in the country.
Mobile Phone Manufacturers Association Vice President Muzaffar Peracha said that mobile phone exports from China are about $140 billion and the Chinese want to set up some of their units in Pakistan but only if the government provides a conducive environment for mobile phone manufacturers. He added that exports in the industry could exceed $14 billion within three years.
“The current policy was established in 2020 and we started work in 2021 and by the end of 2022 only due to the favorable environment, we could meet 95% of the local demands for mobile phones,” the master. Piracha said, adding Mobile device manufacturers want government support to boost exports.
He said that all major brands are in Pakistan, except for Apple, and the Ministry of Information Technology should talk to them along with other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Industries as well as the Ministry of Finance.
“The arrival of Apple will add positive vibes to the mobile phone manufacturing sector,” He said.
The speakers said that the packaging of mobile phone kits and some accessories are becoming localized and as the sector grows, other allied equipment such as chargers can also be manufactured in the country, but they criticized the government for reneging on its commitments.
Vice President of the Mobile Manufacturers Association, Aamir Allahwala, said: “We have people who want to invest in the mobile industry but need continuity of policies, like Vietnam that was exporting $57 billion worth of cell phones a year just because they followed the policy offered to investors who arrived in that country in 2014.” Mr. Allahwala said.