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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,709
524hr
Pakistan Cases
1,284,365
17624hr
0.48% positivity
Sindh
475,248
Punjab
442,950
Balochistan
33,479
Islamabad
107,626
KPK
179,928

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is expected to brief Prime Minister Imran Khan on the measures taken to control smuggling of foreign exchange and food commodities including wheat and sugar.

Sources told Business recorder that a meeting is scheduled at the PM House on October 1 to discuss the anti-smuggling measures on food commodities and foreign exchange.

The meeting would be attended by the Ministry of Interior, the FBR officials, and the law enforcement agencies, etc.

The customs authorities would focus on enforcement measures taken to check smuggling of food commodities to Afghanistan, and the issue of dollars smuggling.

The Covid-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Ordinance, 2020 has empowered the law enforcement agencies and customs to impose heavy fines on smugglers of foreign currency, gold/silver, precious stones, sugar, onions, pulses, salt, potatoes, Gur, rice, wheat/flour, chemical fertilisers, livestock, maize, edible oil, and therapeutic goods.

The main features of the Covid-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Ordinance 2020 are: (a) Ordinance shall be applicable within a distance of five kilometres from any international border or within the premises of airport; (b) Maximum/minimum imprisonment terms for smuggling of scheduled articles and currency; (c) Powers to search and seize the scheduled articles; (d) Auction of seized scheduled articles; cognizance of offence and arrest without warrant; (e) Special courts for trial under the ordinance and reward for informers leading to successful conviction; (f) Preventive detention on reasonable grounds.

The FBR has taken very stringent enforcement measures at the airports to eliminate the possibility of any such an unethical practice. The transparent and efficient mechanism being adopted at all the airports across Pakistan is facilitating the smooth and easy movement of outbound passengers, thus, significantly reducing their time and cost.

The FBR has already directed Collectors of Customs to take penal action against the retailer found in possession of smuggled goods.

The smuggled goods are often found in huge quantities with the retailers; though Section 2(s) covers all aspects of smuggling of goods yet retailers often make plea and could not be made accountable for possession of the smuggled goods being not covered in the legal scheme.

When contacted, the sources said that the FBR recently issued instructions to the border custom stations to remain extra vigilant to avert any attempt of smuggling of dollars into Afghanistan.

They ruled out any possibility of taking foreign currency through illegal means from Pakistan.

“All passengers’ data on currency declaration is being electronically maintained,” they added.

During the last press conference at the FBR House, Member Customs Operations Syed Muhammad Tariq Huda stated that the FBR has been able to check smuggling of petroleum products to the tune of US$2 billion.

Similarly, smuggling of the mobile phones of around $2 billion has also been controlled.

The FBR has taken action against 1,600 petrol pumps selling smuggled petroleum products and this drive would continue in the future.

Member Customs Tariq Huda said that tangible progress was made in the areas of anti-smuggling measures, which yielded the desired results. He said steps were taken for controlling currency smuggling in the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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