Govt to Set Up a New Task Force to End Cross-Border Smuggling

The federal government is setting up a new force to put an end to cross-border smuggling incidents.

Cross-border smuggling has caused a significant loss to the national exchequer over the years.

Under the Border Monitoring Initiative (BMI), more than 2,000 officials will be inducted into the security forces. The recruitment will be subject to clearance from security agencies. Furthermore, the force will be equipped with modern technology and weapons with Pakistan Customs leading it for the first two years.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to upgrade the border monitoring infrastructure across the country under the BMI. The up-gradation of border monitoring infrastructure in Balochistan alone will cost Rs. 52 billion.

Zhob and Mand regions will be allocated Rs 23 billion, while Taftan and Dalbandin regions will receive Rs. 10 billion and Rs. 7 billion respectively. The remaining Rs. 12 billion will be spent on upgrading the border monitoring facilities in other areas in the province.

A committee comprising of Adviser on Finance Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood will finalize a tariff rationalization plan for smuggling-prone products. The plan will be presented to the PM within a month.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered to set up crossing-point task forces within 6 months. The task forces will have representation from different ministries and security agencies.

Expressing displeasure over the prevalence of corrupt practices and lack of disciplinary action, PM Imran Khan has ordered relevant authorities to take strict action against officials indulged in such activities. He has suggested the introduction of performance-based incentives and bonuses for staff in a bid to end corrupt practices.

Within 9 months, anti-smuggling and trade data will be integrated into the central database. Pakistan Customs will also develop a confiscation portal. The portal will provide information to authorities for monitoring purposes.

PM Imran Khan has also ordered to expand the Shuhada package. Under the package, compensation will now also be provided to the families of officials of Pakistan Customs who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Via: Dawn