Business bodies including the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) and the All Pakistan Textile Mills Limited (APTMA) lauded the caretaker government for its measures against smuggling via neighbouring Afghanistan.
Taking to social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday, the PBC expressed its delight amid “concrete measures” taken by the interim government “to thwart misuse of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) to smuggle items like fabrics, cosmetics, tyres, black tea, nuts, flasks, home appliances to Pakistan”.
“Not only was this hurting the formal sector, including employment in the manufacturing industry, it was also denying much-needed duties and taxes,” said PBC, the country’s largest corporate sector advocacy platform.
In recent weeks, the caretaker government has ramped up its efforts to curb smuggling taking place in the garb of Afghan Transit Trade and has imposed a number of measures in this regard.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday imposed a 10% processing fee on five major categories of Afghan transit commercial goods covering confectionaries/ chocolates, footwear, machinery (mechanical/ electrical), blankets/ home textiles and garments imported into Afghanistan in transit via Pakistan.
Moreover, it also directed customs agents/ brokers and transport operators in Pakistan to submit financial security in the form of bank guarantees for Afghan transit goods.
The PBC on Wednesday said it has long advocated for qualitative controls on sensitive items alongside limits based on proven demand in Afghanistan.
“If they (Afghanistan) don’t drink black tea, why allow that to be imported? Good, now it can’t. And, if they drink green tea, allow only enough for the size of its population,” PBC said.
“There may still be scope to review industrial inputs imported for transit even though there is no processing industry for these industrial inputs in Afghanistan,” it added.
Meanwhile, APTMA, a trade organisation representing Pakistan’s textile sector, also expressed similar views, saying the government measures will help save precious foreign exchange reserves.
“Measures taken to control the misuse of the Afghan Transit Trade will yield lasting benefits; save foreign exchange and boost the domestic industry whose potential has been shrunk in the past due to smuggling and misuse of the ATT,” it said.
“We laud the efforts of the Ministry of Commerce for taking bold measures, necessary for strengthening our economy,” it added.