Govt set to increase duties on import of non-essential items

  • 10-Jan-2019
  • Govt set to increase duties on import of non-essential items

Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Investment and Textile Abdul Razak Dawood Wednesday said the government has decided to present another supplementary budget in which duties on non-essential imported items would be increased.

The government has decided to increase country’s exports and decrease imports of non-essential items, the advisor told the Senate Functional Committee on Government Assurances during a meeting at the Parliament House with Tahir Khan Bizenjo was in the chair. The advisor said during last several years, most of the industrial units were shut down due to higher prices of power and gas, adding that the incumbent government has decided to bring down the energy prices for the industrial sectors. He claimed that the government had brought down the power rates by about 7.5 cent per unit in comparison with other competitive countries so that the cost of doing business equalize with other countries and Pakistani products can compete in the international market.

The advisor claimed that de-industrialization had been stopped and its impact would be visible in the next few months.

He informed the committee that import bill of the country was on decline and export bill on the surge. He said the country badly needed foreign exchange, adding that the government has decided to discourage import of luxuries items and all these steps will be ensured in the supplementary budget being presented either in this month or in February.

The advisor said the government wanted to increase country’s exports to $50 billion and include various sectors like engineering, information technology, chemicals, agricultural processing and many more. In the engineering sector, the government has started export of tractors, which were locally produced and exported to the African market. Other items were motorcycle, air conditioners, fans, pumps, etc. For the current year, the advisor said, the government has set target of export of 2,000 tractors which will be enhanced with the passage of time. He said the government has appointed trade officers in Pakistani missions abroad whose work was to find out new avenues for trade cooperation.

Chairman of the committee suggested the advisor that the country should enhance bilateral trade activities with the neighbouring countries.

Taking another agenda item, the committee expressed serious displeasures over absence of federal minister for law and justice to brief them over the introduction and passage of constitutional amendment in either house of parliament for employment quota. Secretary for Law and Justice Justice (r) Abdul Shakoor Paracha told the committee that the minister was busy and that some time was required for legislation of this matter. The quota system expired in 2016 and the government could not make any legislation in this regard, he said.

Members of the committee asserted that it was an important matter because it was related to the backward areas of the country. They were of the view that major opposition parties including PPP and PML-N support the bill then why the government was delaying it. The matter was kept pending and the committee directed the federal minister for law and justice to appear in the next meeting and give a briefing over the issue.

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