The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approving the first-ever mobile phone manufacturing policy is welcome. It will not only promote local production and assembly of mobile phone handsets, but will also integrate the local industry with the global value chain. The government’s move is a significant step in the indigenisation of technology; it will also create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Given the ever-increasing importance of mobile handsets in conducting every business, the government’s policy will enable local producers in capturing the country’s burgeoning mobile market. The research and development incentives to the manufacturers show that the policymakers are well aware that the indigenisation of technology goes beyond just manufacturing the item based on drawings and materials supplied by a foreign manufacturer.

A sanctioned mobile policy can prove helpful in making the local mobile phone industry as one of the leading contributors to Pakistan’s economy. At the same time, it can do wonders for reducing digital divide in the country at a time when we are looking to catch up with the rest of the world in both adapting to, and experimenting with new technology. Even today, a majority of the population, nearly 60 percent, is still unconnected to a mobile network.

However, to maintain consistent growth of the local mobile manufacturing industry, the government needed to take some necessary incentives. And those steps are the crux of this new policy. The recently approved plan is a good demonstration of the government’s understanding of the country’s social and economic situation.

The relaxations granted would reduce the costs of mobile phones, thus making the technology affordable even to the lower strata of the society, especially people belonging to rural areas. Through that, positive growth will be witnessed in the sales of locally-manufactured mobile devices. Hopefully, the government will identify more sectors that can boost our economy and come up with such friendly policies for the investors.