Legal imports surge as smuggling controlled significantly

KARACHI: Elimination and smuggling and the subsequent realization of revenue is at the heart of PM Imran Khan Administration’s economic policy.

Soon after taking the office of PM, Imran Khan has ordered an anti-smuggling drive, which still is underway in a rigorous manner, and the benefits have started to appear in the shape of increased revenues as well a relief to the local legitimate businesses.

According to official data, crude oil imports in FY21 7.09 million MT as compared to 4.68 MT in FY20. There is a significant impact of economic recovery and easing Covid restrictions, but the contribution of increased demand due to reduced smuggled oil products cannot be overlooked.

Baluchistan is said to be the hub of smuggled fuel products that are brought from neighbouring Iran. Majority of fuel stations in the province are illegal and sell smuggled products. Customs sources said there are hardly any legal fuel stations in the province and if all the illegal stations are demolished and closed, there would be a serious fuel crisis, adding the government had advised oil marketing companies (OMCs) to increase their presence in the province with more legal fuel stations selling legal products.

Increased import of crude oil resulted in increased revenue collection for the government as only the Customs duty collected on crude oil during FY21 stood at Rs23 billion up 46 percent compared with Rs15 billion in FY20.

An official said there could be sanctions on Pakistan since PM Imran Khan said ‘Absolutely Not’ to USA when it comes to providing military bases. Such sanctions are imposed to economically cripple a nation and blackmail such nations because USA is no accustomed to hearing “Absolutely Not’.

It seems Imran Khan anticipated that and started taking measures to deal with any kind of circumstances.

The recent budget has brought much needed relief for industries a well as common man on the other hand noose around the smugglers is being tightened.

Sources also criticized the role of opposition parties under the prevailing circumstances saying instead of bringing the nation together, opposition parties were involved in political maneuvering only in their own interests and not for the people of Pakistan.

An official said controlling smuggling and channeling such products to legal channels could result in addition revenue collection of at least Rs1.0 trillion in a year.

Sources said, on the directives of COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Rangers, Coast Guards and FC were rendering full assistance to anti-smuggling activities of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

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