ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to take strong anti-smuggling measures as rising phenomenon of smuggling was undermining the local industry and causing harmful consequences for the national economy.
Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and industry said that national exchequer was reportedly losing around Rs.120 to 150 billion annually due to smuggling of many items and stressed upon the government to pay urgent attention to this serious issue as it was hurting the local industry, discouraging investment & legal imports and causing sufficient revenue loss collected from taxes, duties and levies at the import stage.
He said a World Bank study has estimated revenue loss of US$ 35 billion to our economy during the nine years period from 2001 to 2009 due to smuggling of Afghan transit trade alone. He said there was huge smuggling of consumer items like black tea, diesel/POL products, automobiles, tyres etc. besides non-duty paid luxury vehicles from porous borders of Pakistan with neighboring countries.
He was wondered that despite confronting about 34-35 agencies on the way to enter Pakistani territory, the phenomenon of smuggling was on the rise. This state of affairs calls for priority attention of the government to take strict anti-smuggling measures in order to save the domestic industry and the overall industry from further damage.
Muzzamil Sabri said the prevailing structure of taxes and duties on POL products was also encouraging smuggling of these products from neighboring country. He said government should consider withdrawing 7.5 percent customs duty, 27 percent sales tax and around Rs.8 per litre Petroleum Development Levy on POL products to discourage smuggling of these products.
The Customs Intelligence and Investigation should also be further strengthened to create strong deterrence against smuggling. He said other law enforcement agencies should also be reinforced with enhanced manpower and financial resources so that they could take strict administrative and anti-smuggling measures to curb this dangerous trend for the economy.