May 222008

LAHORE: The Technology Up gradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) is planning to set up Common Facility Centres (CFCs) in Lahore and Karachi to develop and promote the electronics industry in a bid to quickly reduce billions of dollars worth of imports of electronics and telecom gadgets and boost exports.

Electronics is considered the world’s largest industrial sector and the most lucrative market. Unfortunately, Pakistan since independence has not developed a significant place in the ‘electronics world’ which has an annual turnover of US$1.2 trillion.

Though electronics goods burden the import bill by 10 per cent, regrettably they earn less than 1 per cent through exports. Pakistan is currently importing more than $1 billion worth of mobile phones annually to meet increasing demand commensurate with growing tele-density.

According to a TUSDEC spokesman, the Lahore Electronics Complex being set up at a cost of Rs2.7 billion would focus on the mobile phone and telecom sectors while the Karachi Electronics Complex costing Rs3 billion would cater to the needs of consumers and home appliance industry including LCD (liquid crystal display) TV, computer monitors and multimedia products.

The two centres are designed to support and help grow the local industry through ‘economies of scale’ supply of sub-assemblies and kits at competitive prices compared to those being imported from China and nearby countries. The ‘economies of scale’ supply will contribute significantly to lowering the cost of electronics products in Pakistan compared to other players in the international market.

The local electronics sector basically focuses on consumer electronics, with activities confined to the assembly of conventional TV sets, radio, cassette recorders and other allied consumer electronics products using completely knocked down (CKD) or semi-knocked down (SKD) kits, imported mostly from China.

The share of electronics in the country’s manufacturing sector is merely 3 per cent. In the light of need assessment surveys carried out by the TUSDEC, the CFCs would provide the industry with much-needed help in the supply of competitively-priced and readily available parts, component kits, SKD and sub-assemblies including complete printed circuit solutions as well as expert services for product design and prototyping. This will facilitate the industry in the production of internationally competitive gadgets in terms of price and quality.

The TUSDEC spokesman said these centres would house modern electronics design and quality assurance labs and would be equipped with hi-tech SMT machines for assembly of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) as well as high-volume automated assembly.

The centres, the spokesman said, would handle all requirements of an electronic company’s printed circuit or mother boards for use in the final product.

To ensure that local electronics products penetrate the world markets and cross new ‘non-tariff barriers’, compliance with various standards is required. The Federal Institute of Materials and Homologation (FIMH), being set up in Gujranwala, would carry out testing and homologation of these electronics products to allow their export to Europe, the US and other advanced countries bringing revenues for Pakistan, the spokesman concluded.

Courtesy: The News, 22/5/2008

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