October 19: The import of mobile phones has increased by Rs 2 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year.
According to data of Mobile Phone Importers’ Association, Nepal imported mobile phones worth Rs 9.18 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year. Around 2 million sets of phones were imported during the review period.
On the other hand, Nepal imported mobile phones worth Rs 7.19 billion during the corresponding period of last year. The number of sets imported during the review period of last year was around 1.3 million.
The government’s decision taken two years ago to remove the facility of Value Added Tax waiver on mobile phones have had a direct impact on import of phones into the country. Two years ago, the import had dropped significantly than the preceding year.
There was some improvement in import last year after the government made some policy-level decision to resolve the issue.
Currently, the overall import of the country has been declining but the import of mobile phones has been increasing.
According to the chairman of the association Deepak Malhotra, who is also the executive director of IME Group that is authorised to sell Samsung mobiles in Nepal, the demand for smartphones has increased due to the increase in virtual discussions owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the illegal import of smartphones has been checked due to strict restrictions, resulting in an increase in import of phones through the formal channel.
Malhotra further said that the demand for smartphones has increased twice compared to the same period of last year. He added that the demand has been rising sine the lockdown was imposed on March 24 but they were not able to import the phones. But the supply has resumed after the lockdown was lifted, says Malhotra.
According to the secretary of Tamrakar Mobile Association Guru Sharma, the demand for smartphone brands like Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, Realme, Huawei among others has increased this year.