Govt to lift import ban on most luxury items

Import restrictions on cellphones, automobiles and home appliances to remain in place

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Wednesday said that the government will lift the ban on the import of certain goods in the coming weeks; however, the restrictions will stay in place for cellphones, automobiles and home appliances.

He was addressing a seminar organised by the Finance Division regarding the performance of state owned enterprises (SOEs) here in the federal capital wherein he revealed that the Commerce Ministry has forwarded a summary to the federal cabinet for removing restrictions on the import of non-essential and luxury items. 

The finance minister said that the decision to do so has been taken in view of a reduced import bill due to certain conditions put on the import of raw materials and new machines coupled with lower oil prices in the international market. “We expect lower imports of petroleum products in the coming months. Lower imports will help Pakistan to save foreign exchange,” he added.

He further added that he was optimistic of higher dollar inflows as compared to outflows from the next month which would reduce the pressure on the local currency.

“Imports in Pakistan as of July 25 were $3.758 billion and our total imports are likely to be $4.824 billion. This number will be less than our exports plus remittance”, he had written on Twitter a day earlier.

On Tuesday, the finance minister had reportedly asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to lift the ban on 30 categories involving 83 Customs headings.

However, on the recommendation of the Commerce Ministry, he suggested the continual of the ban on completely built unit (CBUs), automobiles and home appliances.

Speaking with Profit, sources revealed that Pakistan had imported Rs399 million worth CBU autos, mobiles and home appliances between May 19 and July 19, 2021, whereas after the imposition of the ban on May 19, 2022, there has been a decrease in the trend of importing these things. 

In two months from May 19 to July 19, 2022, Pakistan has imported Rs123 million worth items, showing a difference of Rs276 million comparable to the corresponding months of the last fiscal year.

It is pertinent to note that the government had imposed a complete ban on the import of automobiles, mobile phones, home appliances, fruits and dry fruits except from Afghanistan, crockery, private weapons and ammunition, shoes, chandeliers and lighting except energy savers, headphones, and loudspeakers.

Other items on the list included sauces, doors and window frames, travel bags and suitcases, sanitary ware, fish and frozen fish, carpets except from Afghanistan, preserved fruits, tissue paper, furniture, shampoos, confectionery, luxury mattresses and sleeping bags, jams and jelly, cornflakes, toiletries, heaters, blowers, sunglasses, kitchenware, aerated water, frozen meat, juices, pasta, ice cream, cigarettes, shaving goods, luxury leather apparel, musical instruments, salon items like hair dryers, and chocolates.

 

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Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

7 COMMENTS

  1. Luxury items ban helps the local industy grow and have opportunities, so hope these items saty banned or have high RD so as we establish our local SME and industry.

    We need industrilization.

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