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Nepal Imposes Ban on Import of Expensive Phones

The government of Nepal has imposed a ban on the import of expensive phones. As per the fresh sanction, mobile phones worth $600 and above won’t enter Nepal. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies has enforced the regulation that bans luxury items after publishing the decision on the Rajpatra. Below, we have compiled the list of those banned items. Keep reading.

The ban will stay effective for over two months, or till the end of Ashar.

Earlier, Nepal Rastra Bank had called upon commercial banks not to issue letters of Credit (LC) for luxury items. And while many rebuffed its effectiveness and the government’s own handling of its decision, it has now banned the import of 10 types of luxury items including smartphones.

The decision comes amidst Nepal’s growing economic worries. Remittance has hit a record low, and foreign currency reserve has depleted at an alarming rate. Besides, the trade deficit is wide as ever. Due to these, many have started fearing whether Nepal is slipping towards a Sri Lanka-like economic crisis. The government has identified downsizing imports as one key measure to mitigate the steep financial decline.

Also read: Nepal Telecom Demands Importing Compatible 4G Phones Only

Nepal bans imports of mobile phones worth $600 above

As per the decision, the Nepal government has banned mobile phones worth $600. This will include smartphones in the upper mid-range and high-end range. Meanwhile, the smartphones that cost below the quoted amount will avoid the ban. They will continue to enter the Nepali smartphone market. Whereas all the flagship phones will be officially banned from entering Nepal.

Besides, the upcoming shipment of phones that have completed all the legal proceedings and are due to arrive won’t be affected by the new regulation.

Despite being a small market for mobile phones, Nepal spends a huge amount of its fortune on mobile imports. As per the Customs Department, Nepal imported 7.4 lakh mobile phones worth Rs.4 billion in Chaitra 2078. And in the first 9 months of the current FY 078/79, a total of 34 billion has been spent on mobile phone import.

Takeaway: Below we have listed the products that have entered the list of the import bans.

Check out: The Government Bans Strikes on Telecom Services

List of banned luxury goods

The goods on the ban list range from chips, and playing cards to TVs, and vehicles. Find them all below:

  • Playing cards
  • Chips (Kurkure and similar products)
  • Cigarettes and tobacco
  • Liquor
  • Diamonds
  • Television (over 32-inch screen)
  • Smartphones (worth over $600)
  • Cars, Jeeps, and Vans (except EVs, ambulances)
  • Motorcycles (with 250 cc engine and above)
  • All types of toys

The bans are likely to bar high-end iPhones and Samsung Galaxy lineups including other flagship phones in Nepal for the next two months. Experts warn this could raise the cost of existing phones by 15% but mid-range traders would still find relief as they remain unaffected by the ban. These devices may as well reach new numbers in sales.

Do you see a ban on the import of phones easing the sliding foreign currency reserves? Do leave your opinions in the comments below.

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