Curb black economy


SMUGGLING has done a great damage to the country’s economy and there is dire need to check this menace to help the local industry stand on its own feet.Federal Board of Revenue in its latest report has revealed that the Afghan transit and the Afghan imports were negatively affecting Pakistan’s economy and were the basic components of black economy in Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that Afghanistan is deliberately not providing complete and correct data of its imports to international institutions. The Afghan government has put the value of Afghan transit trade passing through Pakistan at $ 14.8 billion for the current year while according to Pakistani valuation framework, the value comes to $ 44.4 billion. Firstly, we understand that our government should immediately take up the matter with the Afghan government and iron out the differences in the transit trade agreement. In our view, it is time to holistically revisit the Transit Trade Agreement to control the pilferages in movement of goods. There is need to enhance the number of goods in negative list, allow quota for certain products or collect duty on Pakistani ports and refund on transit out. Those involved in abuse of the transit trade should be given strict punishment. Our Bara markets in big cities are flooded with all sorts of smuggled items worth billions of rupees. There is need to launch a crackdown against those selling such smuggled items and heavy fines should be imposed on them. Simultaneously, stringent measures need to be taken at zero line (border along with Iran and Afghanistan) to curb smuggling by further strengthening especially the customs with necessary manpower and latest equipment. Vigilance should be tightened at all the airports as well as on the roads to make countable operations against the smugglers. Successive governments failed to recognize smuggling as an issue for seventy years despite massive losses to the economy but it is heartening to note that the present government has taken the matter very seriously and also constituted a task force to curb this menace. We expect that the task force will come up with a comprehensive plan of action keeping in view the latest report of the FBR to purge the country of black economy. Greater coordination amongst different institutions and technological upgrading is need of the hour to achieve the desired results.

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