Luxury Items Waiting at Ports to be Released After Paying Added Duty Charges

The shipment of luxury items that were received after the government’s import ban will be released but at a cost, said Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb during a press conference on Friday.

She told the media that a large number of such containers were stranded at various ports and the government was willing to release the luxury goods after a duty had been paid.

The duty imposed by the government on shipments received within two weeks after the import ban is 5 percent whereas the containers reaching after the two weeks will be cleared at 15 percent.

The ban on imports was imposed by the incumbent government in May to contain the declining foreign exchange reserves. Recently, the government introduced another ban on 32 non-essential luxury goods such as chocolates, food and beverages.

Following the ban, the customs official started taking on the government’s directives to curb the ‘smuggling’ of luxury items. Consequently, many items such as mobile phones and chocolates were seized from passengers at airports flying into Pakistan.

Although some economists had predicted May’s import ban on non-essential and luxury items to offer a quick fix, Pakistan’s astonishing trade deficit numbers for the fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 suggest that the move has turned out to be drastically counterproductive.

Pakistan’s trade deficit widened by 16.48 percent on a month-on-month basis from $4.151 billion in May 2022 to $4.835 billion in June 2022, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Imports increased by 13.94 percent on a month-on-month basis and stood at $7.722 billion in June 2022 compared to $6.777 billion in May 2022.

Overall, the trade deficit widened by 55.29 percent in FY 2021-22 and reached $48.259 billion as compared to $31.076 billion during the same period. Imports increased by 41.93 percent during the fiscal year and stood at $80.019 billion as compared to $56.380 billion during the same period of the previous year.

Published by
Aqib Rauf Abbasi