Islamabad: (Parliament Times) The All Pakistan Business Forum has rejected the imposition of additional regulatory duty on import, saying the government neither can impose any duty nor enhance taxes without the approval of the parliament. The regulatory duty was imposed by the government on 797 items including industry raw material without taking the business community on board who are the real stakeholders.
APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that this is not the right way to curtail trade deficit, rather it is just a mini-budget announced in half way of the financial year.
He said that the government should not have enhanced the import duty on industry raw material and inputs for manufacturing of local products as it would cause further dip in exports due to rise in production cost.Ibrahim Qureshi said that the APBF had been calling for consultation before imposition of such duty but authorities did not bother to approach the stakeholders in this regard and imposed the decision unilaterally. He said that imposition of additional regulatory duty on various essentials is nothing else but to encourage smuggling of goods like chemicals and tyres that is already damaging the economic base of the country.
He said that additional regulatory duty will increase the prices of even necessary raw materials and other essentials for the trade and industry. He said that the APBF always supports reduction of luxurious item’s imports but also demands that imports of those raw materials and goods should not be hampered that are not being manufactured in the country.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that the decision shows lack of planning on the part of the policy-makers, creating problems for business activities and putting extra burden on the masses.
He said the additional regulatory duty on several eatable items including fruits and vegetables would increase import bill, widening trade deficit further instead of controlling import.
Terming it an unwise decision, which would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country, he said the move will affect growth of business activities. APBF president said that the rising trade deficit poses one of the most serious challenges for the government, as the last fiscal year saw the trade deficit rise to an all-time high of $32.58 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 37%. When the government came to power in 2013, the country’s annual trade deficit was $20.44 billion. It has been continuously on the rise since then.
Imports recorded a growth of 37% to $4.84b in July from $3.54b a year ago. The overall import bill rose 18.7% to $53 billion for 2016-17 but overall exports fell 1.63% to $20.45 billion in 2016-17.