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ISLAMABAD: The documented steel industry has estimated revenue loss of Rs 4.8 billion due the smuggling of steel products from Iran and Afghanistan during the last few months.

According to a communication of the Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP) to Syed Muhammad Tariq Huda Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Member (Customs-Operations), the industry is facing a new threat of smuggling of steel from Afghan border which is destroying the domestic steel industry. Now, the smuggling of steel from Iran is also taking place.

The industry said that the smuggled steel bars of non-Pakistani origin are openly available in Wana, Mir Ali, Miran Shah, Bannu, D I Khan and Karak. The steel bars are abundantly available in the cities near Angoor Adda-Custom border post at very low prices, indicating that smuggling is occurring either through the custom border post or in a location near the area.

The steel bars are available at prices ranging from Rs 138,000 to Rs 150,000 in these cities whereas international price of steel bars is US$ 772 (plus freight of US$40) and it is subject to the duties and taxes of 71 percent that is Rs 97,675/-.

Steel bars: PALSP spells out reasons behind increase in prices

Hence, the landed price of non-Pakistani origin should be Rs 242,373, industry data revealed.

It is estimated that around 50,000 tons of steel have been smuggled in last couple of months, amounting to a revenue loss of Rs 4.8 billion to the national exchequer.

The Pak-Afghan border was fenced to curb terrorism as well as the menace of smuggling of goods. If we are unable to stop the smuggling, it will not only be a loss to national exchequer but it will also render a great blow to the economy and especially the steel sector; resulting in joblessness and a major dent to investment climate of the country, the industry maintained.

In order to curb this unlawful activity, it is suggested that mobile patrolling to be strengthened to ensure strict vigilance on smuggling of steel bars.

The warehouses/ shops where steel bars are being sold without sales tax invoices to be identified and custom authorities to be instructed to take action against them.

The industry has appealed that in greater interest of economy & steel industry of Pakistan, concrete measures and immediate steps may be taken to stop the menace of smuggling of steel products.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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