Former State Minister and Chairman Board of Investment (BoI), Muhammad Azfar Ahsan has sought the government’s intervention to revive the mobile manufacturing industry on a war footing. The industry is threatened with a complete shutdown including the CPEC-based assembling unit, Transsion Tecno Electronics.
According to a letter sent to Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif by former Chairman BoI, Muhammad Azfar Ahsan regarding the issues of mobile manufacturing industry, it is highlighted that Transsion Tecno Electronics and 30 other mobile phone manufacturers, including global brands Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, Nokia, Tecno, Infinix, and Itel, are facing issues of shortage of raw materials and components, and an inability to open letters of credit since January 2023. This has adversely impacted the feasibility with a halt to business activities and massive rise in unemployment badly affecting the mobile manufacturing industry.
Along with the Prime Minister, the letter has also been sent to Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Syed Amin Ul Haque, Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Federal Minister for Industries & Production, Chaudhary Salik Hussain, Federal Minister for Investment & China Affairs, and Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Commerce to plight the conditions in mobile manufacturing industry.
In the mobile manufacturing industry, this production facility of Transsion Tecno was a joint venture between China and Pakistan. It started production in early 2019 as an initiative under CPEC Phase II B2B cooperation. The company produced 300,000 smartphones per month. They also offered employment to 12 Chinese managers, 400 Pakistani engineers, and 2500 male and female employees, the letter reads.
The mobile manufacturing industry needs USD 100 million per month to stay afloat at even 50% capacity and to retain the 35,000-40,000 direct and indirect jobs created by the same, the letter further stated.
The former BoI Chairman urged the government and federal ministries for making out arrangements for foreign exchange to revive operations of this labor-intensive mobile manufacturing industry. In these trying times of economic uncertainty, Pakistan must maintain the trust of foreign and local investors so that growth is spurred, and employment opportunities are generated again by encouraging mobile manufacturing industry.
He further pointed out that the high-tech mobile manufacturing industry is the backbone of the economy and, if left unaddressed, the situation may become irreparable. “We need to prove to the world that Pakistan is still the land of opportunities with limitless potential”, he added.