The Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ms. Rekha Sharma has remarked that Nepal should start phone assembly and help save foreign currency. She asked for a conducive environment to make mobile handsets in Nepal.
Minister Sharma was addressing the second annual general meeting of the Federation Of Nepal Mobile Business Association in Lalitpur. She suggested that assembling mobile phones in Nepal could be one way to stop the outflow of foreign cash reserves.
Not long ago, the government slapped a ban on luxury phones that costs $300 and above amidst a liquidity crisis. If phones were made in Nepal, their low price would ease the dwindling foreign reserves at the Nepal Rastra Bank. Nepal spends billions of rupees every year on phone imports.
But it’s not the first time that the idea of making phones in Nepal has come to the surface. Nepal Telecommunication Authority has been mulling assembling phones in Nepal as part of the government’s “Make in Nepal initiative”. However, the minister’s latest suggestion could spurn the idea again.
At the event, Federation Chairman Bharat Bhattarai called for a policy for the sale and use of old and second-hand mobile phones. He drew attention to the fact that even old phones can be repaired and sold, but currently businessmen are facing charges of theft when they buy such phones.
Phone assembly could help Nepal from controlling the currency outflow- Minister Sharma
“We can increase our revenue by assembling phones and shall stop foreign currency outflow,” the minister said. “This will make phones cheaper in the country which will be useful for people with low income,” she added.
She added that parts of old phones could be recycled to produce new phones. The minister also shared that the government is discussing a new e-waste policy.
Although the government has long promoted domestic manufacturing and even relaxed some taxes on equipment imports, phone assembly has not been substantiated yet. However, the idea of phones made in Nepal could be appealing to mass consumers.
How compelling would it be for you to buy a phone assembled in Nepal? Do leave your opinion in the comments below.
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