RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Malik Shahid Saleem has said that checking and monitoring of shops by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) staff in order to curb smuggling will increase harassment among the business community. RCCI has been vocal to curb smuggling and remain supportive to government’s initiatives to check smuggling. However, as country economic condition is deteriorating and uncertainty has halted the trade activities in the country, the given directive will usher a new wave of exploitation and harassment in the name of curbing smuggling, he added.
While talking to a trade delegation at chamber house, RCCI President Malik Shahid Saleem urged government to adopt modern technology and strict monitoring at borders to curb smuggling as it is denting the economy. He said, “By curbing smuggling, the country can increase its tax-to-GDP ratio by another 3.9% to 15% within a year.”
There is a need to monitor the transportation on borders. Smuggling severely harms the economy of a country in multidimensional ways. It damages the local industry, discourages legal imports and reduces the volume of revenues collected from duties and levies by the government, said RCCI President.
He said the revenue growth is already facing the dent of 2.5 billion dollar loss yearly due to smuggling, he added. The major items like Mobile phones, Tyres, Diesel, Tea, Plastic, Steel Sheets, Vehicles, Auto parts, Cigarettes, Garments and Electronics (Home appliances) are among top smuggled goods. This has put a negative impact on revenues, industrial production, investment and employment generation, he added.
Malik Shahid Saleem said that the Government should enhance its measures to monitor cross border trade. At the same time, it should rationalize the taxation system. Measures should also be taken to discourage under-invoicing and proper documentation of economy should take place to bring the informal economy under the tax net, he further added.