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Govt lifts ban on import of luxury items to meet IMF requirement: Miftah Ismail

Miftah pointed out that the government was imposing 36 billion rupees further tax on cigarettes sector.

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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said the government has abolished the ban on the imports of luxury items.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Miftah said the IMF and the WTO have raised objections to the government’s ban on the imports of luxury items.

He, however, stated that the government has enhanced customs duty on the imports of some luxury items.

He said heavy duties will be levied on completely built-up (CBU) — cars, mobile phones, and electronic appliances — and apart from them, the imported fish, meat, purse, and other such non-luxury items.

“Even then, if a person wants to import a car that is originally worth Rs60 million [but after the regulatory duties] it will cost them Rs300-400 million, they can import it.”

Miftah said that the government’s objective was not just to allow imports, but it was to fulfil international and IMF demands, while also keeping the current account deficit in check.

He also said that the government has fulfilled all the upfront conditions of the IMF to qualify for the resumption of the stalled IMF programme. The executive board of the IMF is expected to hold a meeting on Aug 29 to give approval for the disbursement of $1.17 billion to Pakistan.

Finance Minister said that the LOI had already been sent back to the IMF, which is a prerequisite before the board meeting, and hoped the fund would release a $1.17 billion tranche by August 31, 2022.

Miftah pointed out that the government was imposing 36 billion rupees further tax on cigarettes sector.

He said that the government has ended the risk of default and the IMF programme would lead to economic stability in the country.

A day earlier, the government has sent back the Letter of Intent (LOI) to the IMF, giving assurance that petroleum levy will be increased to Rs50/liter, free float of dollar-rupee exchange rate will be maintained and government would not use foreign exchange reserves to support rupee devaluation at any stage of the implementation of IMF programme which will end in June 2023.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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