Islamabad - The government has no precise data on the volume of the money laundered from the country, however; during the last six years, Pakistan Customs seized Rs1067,789,532 worth of foreign currency including dollars, National Assembly was told on Thursday.

Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umer in a written reply said that during the year 2012-13, Rs78,328,253 worth foreign currency was seized, while during 2013-14, the amount seized was Rs198,644,254.

During 2016-17, amount equivalent to Rs238,885,000 was seized, while during July to September 2018, Rs206,384,544 were recovered, he said. The minister said that the federal government was fully aware that smuggling of foreign currency, especially the US dollar, might create financial instability in Pakistan’s economy.

State Bank had imposed limit on movement of currency by passengers in 2015 and is being enforced by Pakistan Customs at national entry and exit points, he said.  Up to 5 years of age group persons are allowed $1,000 or equivalent, 5-18 years can take up to $5,000 or equivalent and above 18 years are allowed to take up to $10,000 on their trips abroad, the reply said.

In order to stop currency smuggling recently, Pakistan Customs deployed Currency Declaration System at 24 entry and exit points including international airports, land borders, railway links as well as sea ports for monitoring of cash movement. All these stations are linked together and the database is updated on real time-online basis. The same data is also being shared with the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) on real-time basis, the minister said.

The luggage of all the passengers travelling aboard from international airports is scanned for movement of currency through concealment. Criminal proceedings are initiated against all the accused passengers arrested on the charge of currency smuggling. Customs has recently installed and activated 4 PTZ 360-degree surveillance dome cameras at international departure hall of Jinnah International Airport, Karachi for stepped up monitoring, he said.

TOTAL DEBT LIABILITIES OVER $24B

Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umer on Thursday said that total amount of interest and liabilities on foreign loans besides principal debt liabilities for financial years 2013 to 2018 stood at US$24,320.65 million.

Umer informed National Assembly that the amount of domestic debt obtained since October 2013 till June 2018 was Rs6,517 billion while external debt amounted to $4,496 million.

Under domestic loan category, Rs2,138 billion were obtained from PIB, Rs2,602 billion from T-Bills, Rs732 billion from MRTBs, Rs1,118 billion from NSS and other sources.

An amount of $7,000 million was taken from bond holders, $9,938 million from commercial banks, $15,012 million from multilateral sources, $7,177 million from bilateral and $5,829 million was obtained from IMF between Oct 2013 and June 2018.

The domestic debt is perpetual in nature and is constantly refinanced through new issues. This is a normal practice which is followed throughout the world, he said, adding that external loans were being repaid as per their schedule. The external loans paid since Oct 2013 stand at US$ 19,799 million, he said. Umer said that IMF was approached for financial assistance, entailing a high current account deficit, a large fiscal deficit and low foreign exchange reserves. An IMF team will be visiting Pakistan in the coming weeks to discuss modalities of a possible loan programme, he said.