Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday lifted a ban on the import of non-essential and luxury items to fulfill a condition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The global lender is scheduled to meet later this month to decide on a relief package for cash-strapped Pakistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif-led government had imposed this ban due to the fall in foreign exchange and a deteriorating balance of payments.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Mifta Ismail told a news conference that the ban would be lifted but heavy duty would be imposed on importers to make imports costlier. He said the government was lifting the import ban as it was an international requirement but non-essential imported goods would attract regulatory duty three times higher than the current levels.
iPhone and cars will not have priority
He said, “We will impose a heavy duty in such a way that such items cannot (easily) be imported… I don’t have enough dollars, so I would prefer cotton, edible oil and wheat. I would prefer iPhones or cars. doesn’t give priority.”
Cars will be six times costlier
The minister said that even after this, if a person wants to import a car whose original price is Rs 6 crore, then its cost after regulatory charges will be Rs 30-40 crore. He said that the government’s objective is not only to give clearance for imports, but also to meet the IMF and international requirements, while also controlling the current account deficit.