After the phone ban, mobile imports seem to have braced for a remarkable decrease in Nepal. Recent data by the Customs Department for Ashar, the first month of Fiscal Year 2079/80 shows that the number of mobile phone imports fell by 6 times.
In Shrawan of FY 079/80, 1 lakh, 76 thousand, 2 hundred, and 49 units of smartphones have been imported at the cost of 2 billion, 57 crores, 43 lakh, and 59 thousand. The report shows that the government generated a total of 48 crores in revenue from the total imported mobile phones.
The steep fall in mobile phone imports is attributable to the ban on mobile phones. In April, the Nepal government imposed a ban on phones that cost $600 and later tightened the ban further on phones costing $300 and or above to help ease the liquidity crisis.
The ban seems to have caused an epic fall in phone imports.
In Shrawan of FY 078/79, Nepali traders imported 6 lakh, 67 thousand, 5 hundred, and 18 units of phones costing over Rs 4.82 billion. Likewise, the government was able to collect over 76 crores in revenues.
Phone imports decrease in official data but the market shows a different reality
But while the ban on phones seems to have done its job, the smartphone market seems to show a different picture.
Despite the official data, there are still mid-range and luxury phones found on the market. The so-called grey market is still widely prevalent in Nepal and continues to thrive despite the government upping its efforts to curb it. It has cost the government revenues billions and also includes security risks for phones operating without registration in Nepal.
Consumers are attracted to such phones as they don’t require VAT bills, and the cost is usually cheaper.
The government has announced mobile security software MDMS to go live from Bhadra 30. That could bring hope to eliminate the issues arising from the unauthorized phones in Nepal.
Mobile Phone Importers’ Association Chairperson Deepak Malhotra has criticized the government for the ban on phones costing $300 and above. He states that the ban on phones is wrong and is causing massive economic trouble for traders.
Despite the best intentions, the phone ban in Nepal seems to have resulted in mixed realities. The official data shows that the plan is working but the market reality could indicate an otherwise reality.
Do you think the ban on phones should be sustained or lifted? Do share in the comments below.
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