ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha Wednesday said the government is working on a multi-pronged strategy to deal with deep-rooted issue of smuggling.
Responding to queries of senators during the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Aisha said there are very serious consequences of smuggling on the economy.
The meeting of the finance committee chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla was told by the minister that the government was so serious that the prime minister himself is taking meetings on the issue of smuggling and so far, a number of meetings have been held, looking into the matter.
The minister said a multi-pronged strategy entails strengthening border forces through their capacity building, setting up scanners, and a host of other measures.
She said that during the meetings on the issue, gaps and problems were identified as smuggling is institutionalised and deep-rooted and various stakeholders are involved in it.
The meeting was also informed that the smuggling of sugar and urea from the country was leading to a shortage of these commodities and an increase in their prices.
The meeting was also informed that only 500 officials of the FBR are deployed in the entire Balochistan province which is insufficient, therefore, border agencies and other law enforcement agencies 10 joint check posts have been established with nine of them in Quetta.
The meeting was further told that smuggling from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is part of the political economy and the government was making sincere efforts to deal with the problem.
The Finance Committee was informed that during the last three days, 43,000 bags of urea and 42,000 bags of sugar were seized in Khuzdar and this was being seen as a major dent to smuggling.
The meeting was also told a significant portion of the border has not yet been fenced and this has also been a factor for smuggling.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023