LAHORE: Pakistan FMCG Importers Association (PFIA) has urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to withdraw SRO 237 (I)/2019 issued on February 19, 2019 as its introduction has resulted in increased smuggling of imported items and depriving the government of precious revenue.
In a letter to the FBR, PFIA said that following the issuance of SRO 237(I)/2019, importers requested global suppliers to despatch their products with the full details of ingredients printed on the label both in English and Urdu as required by the SRO. However, they refused because the quantity of export to Pakistan not sufficient and not financially feasible for reprinting of labels.
‘We also import goods from the foreign wholesale cash and carry stores and they also intimated their unwillingness to meet our request on the same grounds. Consequently, our imports are stalled since June 2019,’ said the Deputy Secretary PFIA Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer in the letter.
He further said that whole market is now flooded with smuggled edible and FMCG items as a result of the said SRO, which are being imported under the garb of Afghan Transit Trade, Duty Free Shops or through other means. It is pertinent to mention that all the smuggled products in the market, whose manufacturing date is after June 2019, do not have the “Halal” logos & English/Urdu labels. Although, the consumers are getting their desired products through the backdoors; the present policy is depriving Government of duties and taxes, causing suffering to importers like us and stalled business activities, leading to unemployment as well, Ejaz added.
PFIA also proposed setting up a ‘Halal Authority’ which should devise a policy having clear cut definition of ‘Halal’ and take care of all the items being imported or manufactured here under that definition. Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) can be assigned this task which is already working to ensure standards and quality of things being imported or manufactured here. Provincial Halal Authority is just looking after the meat and meat products under its ambit, he added.
Ejaz Tanveer also suggested for introducing one-window operations for the businesses as they face a lot of hardships in dealing with different procedures and different departments. It causes loss of time and energy which can be utilized for marketing by these organizations, PFIA Deputy Secretary concluded.