ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce has recommended that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Interior Ministry must ensure strict anti-smuggling measures at all border points of the country, especially the entry points at Taftan and Torkhum.
Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Bazinjo had raised an issue in the Senate that different rates of import duty on the vegetables and fruits from Iran and Afghanistan were badly affecting the farmers and fruit growers in Balochistan.
The chairman Senate had referred the matter to the commerce committee for further deliberations and report back to the House. In a report recently compiled and laid before the Senate, the Committee recommended that the existing import duty differential on apples at various borders in Pakistan should be removed and a single import duty rate on the same be applied across Pakistan at the rate of 35 percent regardless of what order point it is imported from.
The committee recommended that Ministry of Commerce (MoC) should take quality certification mandatory for all goods being imported from Iran, especially apples to ensure that only non-hazardous goods are imported, quality is maintained and the local farmers of Balochistan are protected against unfair competition. The committee directed that quarantine conditions should be strictly followed.
The committee recommended that Ministry of Commerce (MoC) should adopt a trade reciprocation policy with Iran so that fruit, vegetables and grain from Pakistan are exported to Iran in exchange for fruit and vegetables from Iran.
The committee examined different aspects of the issue like different duty rates at various entry points of the border timing of importing fruits and vegetables from Iran, issue of regular documented and smuggled inflow of these items. The committee discussed the deteriorating conditions of farmers in Balochistan especially due to scarcity of water and energy resources.