LAHORE: The rupee has plunged to a record low of Rs129.4 against the dollar in the inter-bank market on Monday morning, due to Rs 1000 billion losses of green channel illegal clearances at Karachi ports which caused burgeoning trade and current account deficit alongside deteriorating foreign currency reserves as capital flight continued through illegal channels for smuggling banned goods into the country even after taking of notice by the Chief Justice Saqib Nisar against green channel misuse.
According to latest reports, the rupee was trading at Rs129.4 against the greenback in the inter-bank market and the rupee had closed at Rs121.55 against the greenback in the inter-bank market on Friday. Pakistan’s current account deficit ballooned to $16 billion during the first 11 months (July-May) of the just concluded FY18. During FY18, rupee had been devalued three times against the dollar to prop up exports and rein in decline of foreign exchange reserves.
As per details, the Chief Justice recently took notice of the customs green channel illegal clearances and the court associate sent a letter to the Chairman NAB for necessary action. Mobiles, electronics, liquor, cigarettes, betel nuts, explosive chemicals, etc continue to pour into the country through green channel. FBR has also admitted that 10 million containers have been cleared in Green Channel without any examination. In fact, not even scanning of these containers is done by customs.
Sources said this led to foreign reserves shortage as less revenue is collected by the FBR in shape of dollars. Smugglers used to transfer billions of rupees to other countries through illegal means. Customs collected approximately Rs 610 billion, but it lost Rs 1000 billion due to green channel smuggling. These Rs 1000 billion per year could be added to country reserves if action is taken against corrupt officials of customs & FBR.
Sources said, “Ramifications on the economy would be higher prices mainly of petrol, vehicles and steel items (of which imports make the major component), increase in prices will have an inflationary impact across all sectors and will also limit consumption.”
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