The manufacturers of mobile phones have criticized the government for not adhering to their policies and statements. It was absolutely necessary to invite global giants like Apple to set up shop in the country.
The officers of the Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturing Association (PMPMA), who were speaking at a summit on the manufacturing of mobile devices on Tuesday, claimed that even the iPhone was ready to come to Pakistan but was reluctant due to inconsistent government policies.
The speakers at the event, which was put on by the Engineering Development Board (EDB), said that the main obstacles to mobile manufacturing expanding in Pakistan were a lack of policy directives and a tug of war between various government departments and ministries.
Foreign investors want legislation that ensures consistent policies, particularly in the information technology sector, because Pakistan is a country where policies change with every new government.
They have pressed Pakistan to pass laws that establish a long-term strategy that enables IT companies to flourish regardless of who is in charge. Vice Chairman of Asia and Pacific ICT Alliances (APICTA), in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, stated that a major source of concern had been the change in government, which posed difficulties for investors.
He said, “One of the things industry needs to thrive is consistency of policies,” and he called for a law that would make sure that companies investing and establishing their presence in Pakistan follow the same rules. He emphasized, citing an example of a regional nation, that “there should be no change in policies if a new government comes in, as other countries do, such as India and Vietnam.”
Inserra thought that Pakistan should be a safe place to do business and suggested things the country could do to get more people investing in IT startups. The first thing that needs to be done is to position the nation as a haven—not in terms of the economy, but rather in terms of what it does to support funds and start-up organizations, as well as to encourage professionals from other countries to set up offices here—not so much to attract investment, but to increase their presence.
Sixty percent of your population is under the age of 25; This is amazing, and millions of people could benefit from it. He remarked, “You have youth, talent, and knowledge; you are willing to invest; and you are trying to change perceptions.” Like the economies of Singapore, Thailand, and Australia, you need to boost business. Perceptions must shift because Pakistan has an economy.
Inserra also stressed the importance of developing programs for revenue-generating tech companies and urged Pakistan to encourage local businesses to form partnerships with foreign counterparts. Because they could alter public perception, he believed that the government ought to reward local businesses for encouraging those performing better. It’s just a common misconception that Indian firms are more advanced than Pakistani ones. He stated that Pakistan’s knowledge and innovation are comparable to India’s.
However, the keynote speaker, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mehmood, emphasized the importance of setting export goals, localizing mobile phone components, and cheap labor productivity. He said that everyone was to blame for the economic situation right now, but he also said that long-term policies could help fix it.
There were approximately 31 manufacturers of mobile devices on display, including Realms, Infinix, Tecno, Itel, Alcatel, G-Five, Oppo, Vivo, Premier Code, and others. According to the speakers, up to $2.6 billion has been invested in the country’s mobile manufacturing sector.
Muzzaffar Piracha, vice chairman of the Mobile Manufacturing Association, stated that mobile phone exports from China were approximately $140 billion. The Chinese want to establish some of their units in Pakistan, but only if the government provides mobile manufacturers with an enabling environment. He also said that the industry’s exports could reach $14 billion in three years.
Mr. Piracha stated, “The current policy was made in 2020, we started working in 2021, and by the end of 2022, we met 95 percent of local mobile phone demands only because of the enabling environment,” adding, “The mobile manufacturers want support from the government to enhance the exports.”
He stated that, with the exception of Apple, all major brands are based in Pakistan, and the ministry of information technology must communicate with them along with other stakeholders like the ministry of industries and the ministry of finance.
He stated, “The arrival of Apple will add positive sentiments to the manufacturing sector of mobile phones.”
The speakers said that some accessories and packaging for mobile phones have become localized, and as the industry grows, other accessories like chargers can also be made in the country. However, they also criticized the government for not meeting its promises.
Aamir Allahwala, Vice President of the Mobile Manufacturing Association, stated: There are people who want to invest in the mobile phone industry, but they need policies that stay the same. Vietnam, for example, exported mobile phones worth $57 billion annually because it followed the policy offered to investors when they arrived in 2014. Added Mr. Allahwala.