May 19, 2022 (MLN): To put off pressure from foreign exchange reserves and stabilize the exchange rate, the government has decided on Thursday to ban the import of non-essential luxury items.
While addressing a news conference, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb informed that a blanket ban had been imposed on the import of non-essential luxury items to redress current economic woes under the 'Comprehensive Economic Plan'.
“A comprehensive economic plan had been formulated under which a fiscal management policy would be introduced to steer the country out of the current economic crisis. The plan would help reduce the country’s reliance on foreign debts,” she added.
The minister further said it has been decided for the first time that the import of non-essential luxury items would be banned completely.
It included food items, decoration items, imported vehicles, mobile phones, home appliances, fruits, dry fruits, crockery, shoes, door and window items, lightening equipment, sauces, frozen meat, fish and carpets, tissue papers, make-up items, furniture and confectionary brands, shampoos, jams, jelly, sun-glasses, ice cream, chocolates, musical instruments, and cigarettes.
Adding to it, she noted that there has been an emergency situation in the country and people will have to make sacrifices.
The economic initiatives of the current government would have a swift impact on the foreign exchange reserves for the next two months and there would be an annual impact of around $6 billion, she noted.
She further stated that the government's foremost priority is to minimize dependency on the import, while an export-oriented economic policy would be introduced to give a boost to the local industry which would eventually enhance employment opportunities in the country.
All in all, these measures under the plan would not only have a direct impact on the current account deficit but also help stabilize the rupee against the dollar.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is quite hopeful regarding the outcome of the above-stated decision of import ban on luxury items. Taking to his official Twitter account, he said, “My decision to ban the import of luxury items will save the country precious foreign exchange.”
“We will practice austerity & financially stronger people must lead in this effort so that the less privileged among us do not have to bear this burden inflicted on them by the PTI government,” he added.
At present, the import bill for the month of April stood at $66.78bn while in 10MFY22, the bill soared to $655.37bn up by 46% compared to the same period last year.
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