International Passengers to Bring Smartphones Without Duty



    The federal government is mulling over restoring the duty-free import of Smartphones by international passengers.

    It is also exploring ways to curb the misuse of the facility previously accorded to international passengers.

    One suggestion under consideration is the introduction of a biometric verification system for travelers coming from foreign countries.

    On 1 July 2019, the government outlawed the import of smartphones by international travelers after numerous reports surfaced confirming misuse of the facility and subsequent tax evasion.

    Moreover, some passengers who imported smartphones even used fake passport numbers and flight data in the mobile registration software only to claim an exemption under baggage rules.

    Another disturbing factor leading up to the ban on duty-free import was that numerous smartphone retailers in collusion with travel agents registered expensive smartphones using the information of unsuspecting international passengers.

    Besides, the government also wanted to apply uniform taxes for smartphones whether brought into the country by passengers or locally procured.

    But now, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet will be considering restoring the facility in its upcoming meeting.

    The ECC will only give the green signal if the government manages to implement a robust verification system to stop the misuse.


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