Goods to be imported from India after consulting partners: Miftah

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Miftah taxes

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said Wednesday the federal government will consider importing goods from India as the cash-strapped nation looks for options to cushion the impact of the devastating floods.

The idea to import edible goods from India was first floated by the finance minister Monday, when the country’s death toll crossed 1,100, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, and thousands of acres of crops were destroyed.

In a statement issued on Twitter, the finance minister said that more than one international agency has approached the government to allow them to bring food items from India through the land border.

“The govt will take the decision to allow imports or not based on supply shortage position, after consulting its coalition partners and key stakeholders,” Miftah said.

Miftah’s statement comes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ruled out the possibility of importing goods from India. “The PM virtually ruled out the possibility of vegetable imports from India to overcome shortages caused by devastating floods, saying the two sides needed to talk about the human rights situation in India-held Kashmir.”

PM Shehbaz, however, said that he was ready to have a dialogue with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi over the issue.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce has decided to import onions and tomatoes from Afghanistan and Iran to control soaring prices in the country.

Pakistan’s Minister for Planning Development Ahsan Iqbal told Reuters that 45% of the cotton crops had been washed away, while early wheat sowing in southern Pakistan has also been affected. Moreover, many rice fields, as well as lands where vegetables and fruits are planted, have been inundated.

Seasonal crops are critical to the economy, particularly cotton which makes up more than 60% of the country’s exports, according to the data of the finance ministry.

 

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