Steps being taken to curtail smuggling from Afghanistan, Senate panel told

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday admitted that a large number of LED TVs were still being smuggled into Pakistan through the Afghan Transit Trade system.

Discussing the issue pertaining to the smuggling of LED TVs during a meeting of Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, the FBR officials said that steps were being taken to curtail smuggling activities from Afghanistan.

Earlier, Senator Shibli Faraz had pointed out that electronic items, especially the LED TVs, were being smuggled into Pakistan unabated. He accused the FBR officials of their involvement in this illegal trade.

The matter was deferred due to the absence of the FBR chairman.

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Meanwhile, the standing committee, chaired by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, passed the Companies Act, 2019, unanimously. Other bills, including the Maternity and Paternity Bill, 2018, and the Constitution Amendment Act, 2019, were deferred due to absence of the movers.

During the meeting, the FBR officials informed that it had launched a comprehensive mobile app for filing of salaried and non-salaried returns along with a facility for e-registration of new taxpayers.

“The FBR had launched the revised version of its app ‘Tax Asaan’, which was operational since September 16th with its scope limited to the salary income of an individual. The new version is now covering all incomes and assets of individuals — salaried and non-individuals,” an FBR official told Senate panel.

FBR Policy Member Dr Hamid Ateeq Sarwar said that within 24 days of its launch, the mobile app for simplified return had received 50,000 salary returns digitally.

“Until Wednesday, on Google’s official Android operating system, there were over 20,000 downloads of the app and 6,000 plus downloads on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system,” he informed.

In terms of submission of salary return, he said as many as 1,753 draft returns and 98 returns had been submitted online so far through the app.

Discussing the imposition of customs’ duty on mobile phones, the committee lauded FBR for collecting Rs7 billion under this head. The FBR officials asserted that the imposition of duty will discourage smuggling, adding that “no matter how the device is procured, the user would be taxed once a sim is inserted”.

“Foreigners will be exempted for 60 days after which they will have to pay tax.”

The meeting was attended by Senators Dr Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Syed Shibli Faraz, Dilawar Khan, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Mir Kabir Muhammad Ahmed Shahi and senior officers from the ministries of finance, maritime affairs and FBR.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. The FBR can play a major role to curb revenue pilferage. The Afghan Transit Trade, and Afghan imported TV’s, smart phone, and other smart devices can be detected once they will activate their phone or their TV on the networks which could be the mobile licensed service provider, and the Cable provider or the on Air TV broadcasts radio frequency.
    It has to be studied in collaboration with the UN/ITU, Geneva to which the regulatory authority and the Government of Pakistan is subscribed memebr about the spectrum, radio frequency be used by an App., which will not activate the Afghan import TV., or phone.
    The AFTT authoritiies will also collaborate for a reciprocal MOU to co-operate with the respective authorities to stop illegal trade on reciprocal basis.

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