In reference to the news item titled ‘PTA recommends extending tax relief on mobile phones for overseas Pakistanis,’ that appeared in some news sites, it was noted that there were some aspects of the story that were reported out of context, as they have not happened in the real world.

It is clarified that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been working in consultation with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in order to develop a mechanism for overseas Pakistanis and foreign nationals. A temporary registration can then be applied for, by the applicant. As stated above, the maximum period of time that such applicants are allowed to travel to Pakistan within this system can be up to 120 days per trip.

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Upon the launch of this mechanism, Overseas Pakistanis and Foreign Nationals living overseas will be able to take advantage of the facility to temporarily register their mobile device on each trip to Pakistan without incurring any customs duties for 120 days once this mechanism is operational.

The FBR customs duties/taxes will be applicable to said device if, however, it is intended for permanent use in Pakistan, in which case it will be subject to the applicable duties/taxes.

In the course of the last week, there were reports that the PTA was going to stop blocking smartphones imported from other countries. According to the media outlets, the PTA has also requested the FBR to exempt smartphones from import taxes, which has been reported by the police.

It was reported by some media outlets, however, that the PTA will only offer an exemption to individuals bringing smartphones from abroad for personal use only. A smartphone imported for retail or in bulk will still have to be subject to the regular import taxes in order to obtain PTA approval, for instance.


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