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Sri Lanka to regularize mobile phone business issuing import license

Sri Lanka in its way towards high digital connectivity is set to regulate the mobile phone industry by making licenses to import handsets with the aim of busting the snuggling and grey market, finance ministry sources said.

As the world integrates the ‘New Normal’ in the ecosystem, Sri Lanka’s digital framework with mobile phone connectivity is pacing with fresh energy and has bold plans for the future.

The nation witnessed a whopping 245% increase in E- commerce base, as the basket went from US$11 to $38 which was primarily driven by e-payment, e-banking, online medical consultation and e-sports, the latest segment on e-platforms.

Smartphones are also galvanizing day-to-day activities like online classes, online shopping, and e-payments with 43% people accepting to have tried newer things online.

The smartphone industry is looking at a promising avenue. In terms of digital development, Sri Lanka witnessed a speedy process where now the usage of mobile phones has become a common feature among the people.

In this setup , Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara has intervened to stop the smuggling of unregistered mobile phones into Sri Lanka.

This action has been taken by the minister after the Mobile Phone Importers Association apprised him regarding the organized racket of smuggling mobile phones into the country using individuals as carriers, depriving the government of tax revenue and posing a threat to national security.

Minister Nanayakkara had explained the relevant issues to State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya as well as the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and urged them to take necessary action to stop the racket.

These facts were revealed in a discussion held today (27) between the Mobile Phone Importers Association and the Minister Nanayakkara.

The Association told the minister that due to the importation of mobile phones in the above illegal manner, in 2021 alone around $20 million has been transferred to foreign destinations illegally through the Undiyal system, and the tax revenue lost to the government is estimated to be around Rs. 7.8 billion.

The mobile phone importers pointed out to the minister that importing mobile phones without registration in this way also affects national security and that the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has no record of such mobile phones.

Minister Manusha Nanayakkara assured that necessary measures to stop the illegal importation of mobile phones, which affects the country’s tax revenue and national security, will be taken with the intervention of the Minister of State for Finance and the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

Smartphone manufacturers are eyeing this opportunity of impending demand for smartphones. Deeper insights into the market reveal that 48%2of the people would be interested in buying products that are manufactured locally.

Thus, the vision of ‘Make in Sri Lanka’ and ‘Digital Sri Lanka’ can go hand in hand in reforming the smartphone industry in the coming years.

As a youth-centric brand, vivo is tapping into this wave of digital transformation and is manufacturing smartphones that cater to all the digital needs of the users. It is also exploring to tap the 5G wave that is bound to take the nation by storm.

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