To stabilize the rapidly declining foreign exchange reserves and soaring import bill, the government has banned the import of non-essential and luxury commodities, as part of measures that a minister claimed would save $6 billion.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb made the announcement during a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
The government’s actions, according to the minister, would also help to lower the country’s expanding current account deficit.
She went on to say that the main goal of these steps is to lessen the country’s reliance on imports and to implement an export-oriented policy to support domestic industry.
The minister stated that the government is working on a plan to encourage local manufacturers and provide job opportunities.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated that the decision to prohibit the import of luxury commodities will save the government money.
The premier went on to say that the wealthier among us must lead this effort so that the less fortunate among us do not have to carry the burden imposed by the previous administration.
Imports of automobiles and cellphones are among the major things that have been prohibited. The full list of things is as follows:
- Mobile Phones
- Home Appliances
- Fruits and Dry Fruits (except from Afghanistan)
- Private Weapons & Ammunition
- Chandeliers & Lighting (except Energy Savers)
- Headphones & Loudspeakers
- Sauces, Ketchup etc.
- Doors and Window Frames
- Travelling Bags and Suitcases
- Sanitary ware
- Fish & Frozen Fish
- Carpets (except from Afghanistan)
- Preserved Fruits
- Tissue Paper
- Luxury mattresses & sleeping bags
- Jams & Jelly
- Bathroom ware / Toiletries
- Heaters / Blowers
- Kitchen ware
- Aerated water
- Frozen Meat
- Pasta etc.
- Ice cream
- Shaving Goods
- Luxury Leather Apparel
- Musical Instruments
- Saloon items like hair dryers etc.
Impact of Ban Items
The restriction on the import of 38 non-essential luxury items, announced on Thursday as part of an emergency economic strategy, will only cost $247 million per month.
The country’s soaring import bill and widening current account imbalance triggered the prohibition.
The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves have plunged in recent months, and according to the most recent weekly numbers, they now stand at $10.16 billion, equating to only 1.52 months of import cover.
The prohibition on the entry of non-essential luxury items, according to government data, will cost the country $247 million in imports.
According to a Reuters story, Pakistan is projected to spend a stunning $2 billion on subsidies that have yet to be removed between March and June.