LCCI seeks slashing regulatory duty on smuggling-prone items

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to slash regulatory duty on smuggling-prone items to discourage the illegal trade.
High rate of duties and taxes always encourage illegal trade which harms the local industries besides causing huge loss to the national exchequer, said LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid while speaking at a meeting of the LCCI office bearers on Tuesday.
It will be wiser if the government abolishes regulatory duty on smuggling-prone items as smuggling is costing the national exchequer in billions. Markets across the country are flooded with smuggled goods and local industries are struggling for survival while smuggled goods are not only easily available everywhere but also attracting buyers.
Speaking on the occasion, Awais Saeed Piracha revealed that demand of redial and non-redial tyres of truck/bus was 2.5 million and 0.3 million respectively during the financial year 2017-18 against the legal import of 1,150,823 and 153,000 tyres respectively. Local production of redial & non-redial tyres during the same period remained zero and 48,564 respectively. Thus shortfall of 1,446,013 was met by smuggling. Likewise shortfall of 1,903,971 tyres of light truck and 3,323,254 tyres of passenger cars met by smuggling.
Malik Tahir Javaid said the causes of smuggling are actually the incentives which motivate people to engage in unlawful trade. The heavy tax/duty rates, complicated procedure involved in payment of taxes and release of consignments add extra burden on the importers. He suggested that scanners should be installed at the border checkpoints to control smuggling. A lot of smuggling is done on the land routes of Chaman and Landi Kotal, he added.
Effective checking at the Customs check posts can play an imperative role in curbing the smuggling. The check-posts should be established on every 50 to 100 km distance on the roads heading into the country from Chaman and Landi Kotal. Multiple check posts would hinder the easy flow of various smuggled items including tyres.
To minimize the risk of connivance from officials, the Collectors’ duty times should be rotated after short intervals. He was of the view that honest and upright officers should be posted at Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders.

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