Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday announced that the government is scrapping the ban on the import of luxury items.
In a press conference, the minister said the government is removing the ban on all items, as per the requirement of the international community, adding that the regulatory duty on the non-essential imported items will be increased. He said that the government will impose the maximum amount of permissible regulatory duties on the non-essential items.
“I will prioritise wheat, cotton, flour, and edible oil instead of luxury cars. We will remove the ban but impose prohibitive duties in the form of regulatory and custom duties, and sales tax so the import of non-essential imported items does not rise,” he added.
He said that the government had imposed the ban in line with IMF conditions. “The government had a limited amount of dollars and its priority was to provide basic necessities to the people,” he added.
The government had imposed the ban on May 19, citing an emergency situation. In a tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had said that the ban would save the country’s ‘precious foreign exchange’. “We will practice austerity and 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,” the PM had said.