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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 decision made by the government, mobile phones worth $600 were restricted from trade in Nepal. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies has enforced the regulation that bans luxury items after publishing the decision on the Rajpatra. But the ban looked ineffective to serve the purpose of saving foreign currency, which prompted the government to include phones above $300, among other “luxury” goods in the ban list. We have compiled the list of those banned items. Keep reading.

The latest ban is going to last till Mangsir 29.

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 and $300

At first, the Nepal government banned mobile phones worth $600 from trading. This included smartphones in the upper mid-range and high-end range. Meanwhile, smartphones that cost below the quoted amount will avoid the ban. They continued to enter the Nepali smartphone market uninterrupted. But given how feeble its effect was, phones worth $300 and above were barred from importing into Nepal. But besides the phone, the list includes various luxury items as well.

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max Display

Despite the ban though, we are still seeing flagship smartphones from leading phone makers. But we highly recommend you check the IMEI registration status of your device before you buy it. The MDMS is live in Nepal and if you have a phone operating without registration, it might face blacklisting.

Below we have listed the products that have entered the list of 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, and 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 the ban on the import of expensive phones by the Nepal government will help to control currency outflow? Do leave your opinions in the comments below.

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