ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided, in principle, to make the inactive Telephone Industries of Pakistan (TIP) operational in cooperation with China for the manufacturing of mobile phone sets.
For this purpose, all options, including the privatisation of TIP, located in Haripur, and its running on public-private partnership mode, are being considered.
Sources said Chinese companies were interested in investing in mobile phone manufacturing in Pakistan as the entire infrastructure was already present in the form of telephone set manufacturing company – TIP, which is owned by the Ministry of Information Technology.
The machinery to manufacture telephone sets is also present. Facilities of the factory include surface-mounted technology (SMT) and through-hole technology (THT). Similarly, technology for the electroplating of copper, nickel, gold, silver, chromium, zinc and tin as well as for super heating is also available.
The TIP factory has remained closed for a long time and now many Pakistani companies are interested in using this unit for manufacturing mobile phone sets by forging joint ventures with Chinese companies.
Sources also revealed that a large mobile phone manufacturing company of China had already prepared a feasibility study in that regard, which had been shared with government officials. They said the Chinese company wanted to run the factory with Pakistani counterparts, not only to sell the manufactured mobile sets within the country, but also to export them.
The Chinese company also desires to acquire TIP on lease, sources said, adding the Chinese firm, along with the Chinese ambassador, had held important meetings with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, member customs and other officials regarding the investment.
Other than the mobile phone manufacturing plant, the Chinese company has also expressed interest in establishing a Chinese car manufacturing plant. Work was being carried out on the duty and tax structure for installing these industrial units, sources informed.
They said the Chinese investors had been informed that Greenfield investors would have exemptions from duties and taxes. Apart from this, they are granted further exemptions and facilities for investing in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The Chinese company had expressed interest in setting up one mobile phone manufacturing plant initially and in this regard, it was focusing on the TIP infrastructure in Haripur, they said.
Economic activities in Pakistan will get a boost with the setting up of the mobile phone manufacturing unit and employment opportunities will emerge with the arrival of foreign investors. If mobile sets are exported, then the country can also earn foreign exchange.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2019.