A number of mobile traders are preparing to strike on 5 and 6 April in protest of the security campaigns carried out earlier this week against a number of mobile phone shops on Abdel Aziz Street in downtown Cairo.
A number of mobile shops have faced security crackdowns due to the lack of customs clearance documentation for the devices they sell. Moreover, a number of shop owners were arrested, which sparked anger among traders.
Mobile trader and member of the Mobile Traders Division in the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, Hany El-Gamal, said he will close his shop on 5 and 6 April in protest of the arrest of some mobile shops owners on charges of selling imported mobile devices and accessories without having documents indicating the payment of customs on these products.
El-Gamal noted that it is not necessary in cases such as these to arrest shop owners and take them to the police station. It is only necessary to register the source of the products in the police report. The trader in such cases is not obliged to provide the customs clearance documents, he noted, as shop owners are responsible for selling the product, not importing it.
Similarly, Mohamed El-Mahdi, the head of the mobile traders division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), said communications with companies that import and produce mobiles were conducted to reach solutions with security authorities.
The importing and producing companies were asked to produce receipts for the imported devices and accessories to avoid legal complications, El-Mahdi said. In addition, the producing companies were given a deadline of 48 hours to end the crisis with the government.
The division also asked the government, represented by the prime minister, for a period of 60 days to legalise the status of the shops, and to cease security crackdowns during this period. Moreover, traders were requested to stop buying mobiles and accessories until the crisis is resolved.
El-Mahdi called on the parliament to enact a law regulating the business of the mobile trading sector, especially as more than one million people are working in this business.
Bassem Megahed, the CEO of Raya Trade, the exclusive agent of Microsoft phones in Egypt and Nigeria, said the company has all the documentation proving the legitimate entry of its products to the market. “We informed traders that we are ready to provide them with all the necessary documentation to prove that their status is legal,” Megahed said.
The CEO pointed out that there is a complete database for all the mobile phones Raya distributes, including the serial numbers of all the devices and the data of the shops that received them. Raya distributes approximately 5m Microsoft and Nokia mobiles, and recently became the agent of Lenovo products.