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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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EditorialLifting of import ban

Lifting of import ban

It seems that the government has no other choice except accepting every condition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a bailout package. Lately, the much touted ban on luxury items has been lifted under the instructions of the IMF. The decision to lift the ban was announced by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had refused to allow the import of 33 categories of banned items, covering 860 tariff lines.

Those who have resources they will pay for what they want at any cost. Spending huge finances on luxury items is not an issue for the haves but their actions plunge the country’s economy and self-reliance into a deep turmoil where recovery becomes an uphill task. It is in fact a perpetual system of imbalances in society. A peculiar attitude to rely on imported items has been nurtured over the years due to successive governments’ inability to keep a check and balance. The situation has become so bleak that our local products fail to compete with the items offered by other countries at subsidized rates.

The competition has become tough for local industries and no measure has been taken by the government to facilitate or encourage the branding of indigenous items. Though the finance minister has claimed that high rate of regulatory and customs duties in the range of 300% to 600% will make it virtually impossible to import luxury and non-essential goods, yet it will trigger a wave of inflation in the country as local relevant products’ prices will also go skyrocketing. Paying for imports can strain the resources in Pakistan where economic growth lags and foreign exchange earnings are limited. In this situation, government needs to focus on improving the quality of indigenous items. Increasing income through the trade of locally produced items is one way the government can increase country’s cash earnings. Government needs to introduce farmer and industrial friendly policies and lay a network of roads as well as infrastructural development in rural areas so that local producers could transport their products to the urban markets with more ease. At the international level, government needs to engage experts for branding of its items to make them more acceptable. Surely these measures will help decrease the existing trade deficit. The real way to maintain a balance is to increase productivity and focus on subsidies on selective export items besides controlling imports to live within the means the nation can afford.

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