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Import of mobile devices surges in Nepal in 1st quarter of 2021/22 FY


Nepalnews
2021 Oct 31, 13:19, Kathmandu
Mobile Phones (photo credit: Pixabay)

Nepal imported much more mobile phones in the first quarter of the 2021-22 fiscal year starting in mid-July, worth nearly half of the total imports of the last fiscal year, data from Nepal's Department of Customs revealed.

Mobile devices worth 17.17 billion Nepali rupees (142.86 million U.S. dollars) were imported during the first three months of the current fiscal year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for 46.53 percent of the total imports in the previous fiscal year.

In contrast, Nepal imported 11.1 billion rupees (92.36 million dollars) of mobile devices in the first quarter of the last fiscal year, according to the department.

"The pandemic forced many people to buy mobile phones for study and work, creating more demands for mobile devices in the country," Punya Bikram Khadka, information officer with the department, told Xinhua.

"Even poor people who could not afford to buy mobile phones were forced to buy them to enable their children to study online as schools had been closed for months due to COVID-19," Khadka said.

While some schools were reopened in the Kathmandu Valley in mid-September, several have remained closed in central Kathmandu. Outside the valley, most schools have reopened.

"Teaching, assigning homework and receiving class work and homework from students were all taking place online, so mobile phones or computers were needed for every family with students," said Ritu Raj Sapkota, president of the National Private and Boarding Schools' Association.

Many families purchased mobile phones instead of laptops which are more expensive amid a chip shortage worldwide, noted Sapkota.

Nepali officials believed that the government's effort to control contraband also contributed to a growing number of imported mobile devices.

Since the start of the current fiscal year, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority has introduced a system barring services on mobile phones smuggled into the country.

"I think this measure taken to discourage smuggling of mobile phones also led to the rising import of mobile phones through legal channels," said Khadka.

According to the customs data, China and India were the largest sources of mobile phones for Nepal.

Mobile devices worth 10.11 billion rupees (84.12 million dollars) and 6.47 billion rupees (53.83 million dollars), respectively, were imported from the two neighbors during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

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nepal Department of Customs Mobile phones mobile devices COVID Pandemic import export children Kathmandu Valley Study online Classwork hoimework schools Nepal Telecom Authority Customs Data china india
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