Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has instructed relevant authorities to expand the import ban list by adding more luxury items in order to recover the trade deficit. According to the details, the government has been looking at ways to curb imports in the coming 2022-23 budget by imposing ban on more luxury goods and also adding more items to the regulatory duty (RD) list.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and its members were preparing a list of items to add to the existing number of banned items for import to try and fix the balance of payment deficit. The ban on these imports will likely remain in place for a couple of months to meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“The prime minister has given instructions to Ministry of Commerce, FBR, and other budget makers to identify items for purpose of banning and slapping RDs in a bid to decrease import bills.” The News reported while citing an unnamed official privy to the matter. “Number of items that will be added to the RD list or banned list have not been decided yet,”
It is pertinent to mention that the Federal Government previously banned 38 items, but later had to issue a clarification on the matter as well as remove some items from the list. The report added that the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission were deliberating on curtailing the trade deficit in the coming budget by envisaging to fix an export target of $32 billion, with imports in the range of $65 billion. Imports in the outgoing fiscal year have been estimated to stand at $71 billion.
“We are trying to curtail imports by $6 billion in the coming budget, so we are planning to bring down imports to $65 billion from $71 billion.” The News reported while quoting an official. Furthermore, the report added that budget makers expect to save $3 billion on imports of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming fiscal year, with additional savings of $2 billion on account of reduced shipping costs and rents.
“The government is considering measures to curtail imports by $1 billion through different tariff and nontariff barriers,” added the official. Moreover, the Government of Pakistan is considering of imposing or adjusting duties on large number of items in order to control imports.