ISLAMABAD: The documented steel industry estimated revenue loss at Rs 4.8 billion due to smuggling of steel products from Iran and Afghanistan over the past few months.
According to a communication from the Pakistan Association of Major Steel Producers (PALSP) to Syed Muhammad Tariq Huda, a member of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) (Customs-Operations), the industry is facing a new threat of steel smuggling. steel from the Afghan border which is destroying the national steel industry. Now the smuggling of steel from Iran is also taking place.
The industry said smuggled steel bars of non-Pakistani origin are freely available in Wana, Mir Ali, Miran Shah, Bannu, DI Khan and Karak. Steel bars are available in abundance in towns near the Angoor Adda-Custom border post at very low prices, indicating that smuggling occurs either through the customs border post or somewhere near the area.
Steel bars are available at prices ranging from Rs 138,000 to Rs 150,000 in these cities while the international price of steel bars is USD 772 (plus USD 40 freight) and is subject to duty and taxes of 71%, i.e. Rs. 97,675/-.
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Therefore, the landed price of non-Pakistani origin is expected to be Rs 242,373, the industry data revealed.
It is estimated that around 50,000 tonnes of steel have been smuggled in the past two months, representing a revenue loss of Rs 4.8 billion for the Treasury.
The Pakistan-Afghan border has been fenced off to combat terrorism as well as the threat of smuggling of goods. If we fail to stop the smuggling, it will not only be a loss for the public treasury, but it will also be a blow to the economy and in particular to the steel sector; resulting in unemployment and a major dent in the country’s investment climate, the industry maintained.
In order to curb this illicit activity, it is suggested to reinforce mobile patrols to ensure strict vigilance on the smuggling of steel bars.
Warehouses/stores where steel bars are sold without sales tax invoices should be identified and customs authorities should be instructed to take action against them.
The industry has demanded that in the best interests of Pakistan’s economy and steel industry, concrete steps and immediate action can be taken to end the threat of smuggling of steel products.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022