September 27: Coronavirus pandemic has badly affected all other businesses but the smartphone business is flourishing amid current crisis.
The import of smartphones and mobile sets has increased in the first two months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year.
The demand for smartphones has outpaced the demand for petrol and diesel, making it the top import of the country.
According to the data made public by the customs department, the country imported smartphones worth Rs 7.94 billion in the review period, which is Rs 2.84 billion more than that of the last fiscal year. During the review period, the import of diesel and petrol has been limited to Rs 5.5 billion.
Chairman of the Mobile Phone Importers of Nepal, Deepak Malhotra, said that smuggled smartphones used to cover 40 percent of the market before the lockdown was imposed. However, the smuggling of goods has stopped after the lockdown due to which the import of smartphones through official channels seems to have increased, says Malhotra.
He claims that the smuggling of smartphones has dropped to zero while the number of internet users has gone up because of online classes and virtual meetings amid coronavirus pandemic. This had led to an increase in demand for smartphones and gadgets, according to Malhotra.
“The smuggling of smartphones had increased after the government increased the tax on smartphones from 7 to 16 percent in fiscal year 2018/19.
Nepal had imported smartphones worth Rs 18 billion during the last fiscal year. Malhotra believes that the import would cross Rs 30 billion this year if the government curbs smuggling of goods.