FAISLABAD: The illicit trade of smuggled cigarettes is affecting the local cigarettes manufacturers who pay heavy taxes to the government.
According to the high officials of Customs Department, they are making best efforts to stop the illicit trade of cigarettes in the country by seizing thousands of smuggled cigarettes.
The margin to sale the smuggled cigarette is very high as compared to the local cigarettes and this thing is causing increase in trade of smuggled cigarettes in Pakistan. To stop illicit trade of cigarettes, the Pakistan Tobacco Company organised a seminar in Faisalabad at a local hotel. The seminar was attended the high officials of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and high officials of Customs Department Faisalabad. The motive of seminar was to create awareness against the illicit trade of cigarettes.
Talking about the illicit trade of cigarettes, Chief Guest Central Police Officer (CPO) Faisalabad Sohail Habib Tajak said that no doubt the trade of smuggled cigarettes is illegal activity. To reduce this activity Punjab Police will always help the customs officers.
On the occasion, Ex-Member FBR and Supreme Court Illicit Cigarettes Commission Member Ramzan Bhathi explained the role of local cigarettes industry and contribution in national economy. He added Rs 26.1 billion cigarettes were sold in year 2013 which generate d heavy revenue in the shape of taxes for the government. The illicit trade of cigarettes is causing direct loss to the local industry as well as the loss to the government. The data revealed that the cigarettes sale is growing up every year. He added that in fiscal year 2007-08, the sale of cigarettes was Rs16 billion which touched to Rs 26.1 billion in fiscal year 2012-13.
According to the data received by the Customs Today, Faisalabad Customs Department has proved itself by seized more smuggled cigarettes than any other part of the country. In 2013, Faisalabad seized, four major cases of smuggled cigarettes were unearthed, amounting Rs20 million cigarettes.
Customs Collector Tausif Ahmad Qurashi said that to stop this activity we have made the special strategy against the traders who are involved in this illegal trade. Highlighting the performance of this year, the high officials of Custom department also seized three big consignments of smuggled cigarettes with market value of Rs 7 million, Rs 1 million and Rs 5 million.
On the other hand, after Faisalabad, Karachi has seized three major smuggled cigarettes cases worth Rs 2 million. Third one is Multan by seizing smuggled cigarettes value Rs 2 million and Quetta with one case of Rs 1 million.
Ex-member FBR Ramzan Bhatti said that Pine, Benson & Hedges and Dunhill are major brands smuggled to Pakistan. He added that 80 sticks of cigarettes are seized in last year. The local cigarettes have margin of Rs 2 per pack whereas the imported smuggled cigarettes have margin above Rs 10 per packet. He added that no doubt the cigarettes are damaging the health of human beings but it’s also true the smuggled cigarettes are damaging more than the local because most of the smuggled cigarettes are expired.