Pakistan seeks import ban on luxury items due to its economic crisis

KARACHI: As the country approaches economic turmoil, the business community has pushed the government to swiftly impose import restrictions on luxury items.

"Pakistan is reportedly on the verge of an economic crisis," said Ismail Suttar, President of the Employers' Federation of Pakistan (EFP). He stated the country had reached an alarming economic scenario due to a deteriorating balance of payments, increasing inflation, diminishing foreign exchange reserves, and political uncertainty. "The fact that Pakistan has had a trade imbalance since 2003 is catastrophic," Suttar added. "Immediate action is required, as is the development of rigorous policies to govern the situation."

Fawad Basir, Head of Research at AL Habib Capital Markets, stressed the importance of limiting non-essential imports in Pakistan. "It will help to some extent," he continued, "but this should be the beginning point."

He noted that completely knocked down (CKD) motor vehicle imports totaled USD1.3 billion from July to March 2021-22, while completely built unit (CBU) imports totalled USD240 million. "If we merely stop," he calculated, "we would not only help our local vehicle sector, but we will also lower the impact on our current account deficit (CAD) by roughly USD1.5 billion."

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