ISLAMABAD  -  The caretaker government has not approved the proposal of increasing Regulatory Duty (RD) on imported commodities to curb the soaring imports and left the matter for the new government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The Ministry of Commerce and Textile had presented a summary in federal cabinet few days back to increase the RD on imported commodities.

However, sources informed that caretaker federal cabinet had not approved the summary and left the matter for the next government.

“The caretaker government had not wanted to be controversial by increasing taxes that could lead to inflation in the country,” said an official of the Ministry of Commerce while talking to The Nation.

He further said that interim government had already faced criticism when it increased the petroleum products prices.

He informed that ministry had suggested increasing the existing duty by one percent on thousands of imported commodities. Similarly, the ministry had also asked to double the regulatory duty on mobile phones, from Rs250 per set to Rs500.

The proposed measures could have reduced the imports by around one billion dollar per year, he added.

The Ministry of Commerce wanted to control increasing imports of the country. Pakistan’s imports have recorded at $60.9 billion during FY2018 as against $52.9 billion of the previous year showing an increase of 15.1 percent.

On the other hand, the country’s exports had increased to $23.2 billion during FY2018 as against $20.4 billion of the corresponding period of the previous year showing growth of 13.74 percent. Pakistan’s trade deficit had surged to all-time high $37.67 billion during FY2018 as imports increased faster than exports.

Now, the new government would have to decide whether to increase the RD on the imported commodities. The government could not control the imports by imposing additional customs duty on overall imports of the country.

Pakistan’s overall imports consists 24 percent petroleum, machinery 20 percent, industrial raw material (textiles, transports and metal groups) 21 percent; agriculture inputs 15 percent and edible oil 13 percent. Increasing taxes or duties on aforesaid imported commodities would lead to inflation as well increased cost for exports.

Therefore, the government could target the imported luxury commodities to control the imports of the country.

In December 2017, the then government had also revised regulatory duty (RD) on dozens of imported items, of which RD was imposed on 11 items (58 tariff lines), scrapped on 8 items (59 tariff lines), increased on 5 items (43 tariff lines) and reduced on 6 items (22 tariff lines) on the proposal of different sectors.

SECP conducts awareness

session for investors

In continuation of its investor awareness drive, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) conducted an awareness session titled 'Benefiting from SECP's Investor Education Program' at Rotary Club of Islamabad Metropolitan (RCIM).

The SECP's Executive Director, Investor Education Department (IED), Ms Khalida Habib and her colleagues, were welcomed by the RCIM President, Ms Fakhira Khanum, and Secretary Shaukat Mukaddam.

The members of the club attended the session to gain insights into the SECP's investor education program and to become SECP's ambassadors in their respective circles of influence.

The audience was apprised about SECP's role as the apex regulatory authority and its overarching Jamapunji awareness campaign. The talk explained various investment avenues. The audience was informed that mutual funds were safer for those who lacked expert knowledge of the stock market. Tax rebate is also available for investment in mutual funds.

The session targeted members and volunteers of Rotary, which is an international service organization that brings people from all walks of life together  to provide humanitarian services to communities in need. By apprising the club members about do's and don'ts of savings and investment, the SECP aims to utilize their mobility in far-flung and neglected areas of the country to spread financial awareness.

The SECP representatives had interactive communication with highly energetic club members and volunteers who expressed their interest in the SECP's Jamapunji campaign and suggested to utilize educational activities of the drive in their ongoing service projects.

The president RCIM lauded SECP's efforts and suggested that the Jamapunji investor education session should be conducted at their fellow Rotract Club, whose members are between the ages of 18 and 30.  ED (IED) extended her full support and pledged to continue collaboration with Rotary in the future to build a financially aware Pakistan.