The Pakistan government has imposed a complete ban on the import of more than three dozen non-essential luxury items as part of an emergency economic plan to stabilise the national economy.
On Thursday, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Maryam Aurangzeb said, “There is an emergency situation and Pakistanis will have to make sacrifices under the economic plan. This will have a quick impact on the country’s foreign reserves.”
Pakistan will have to reduce its dependency on imports to put the country on the path of economic stability and progress, she said, adding that the government has been working to introduce an export-oriented policy, which will benefit local industry and producers, and generate employment, Xinhua news agency reported.
The development came after the Pakistani rupee continued to sink over the past few weeks, hitting a historic low value of 200 against the US dollar in the inter-bank market on Thursday, depreciating 0.81 per cent as compared to that on Wednesday.
The decline of the Pakistani rupee is attributed to the rising import bill, growing current account deficit and depleting foreign exchange reserves, according to economic experts.
The decision will hit the imports of cars, mobile phones, cosmetics, cigarettes, food products, certain garments and toiletries. The federal cabinet approved the summary to ban the imports through circulation after a series of meetings held at the Ministry of Finance and Prime Minister Office.
“My decision to ban import of luxury items will save the country 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 [previous] PTI government,” PM Shehbaz Sharif tweeted. He further stated that together “we will overcome all the challenges with resolve and determination”.
Import of the items have been prohibited to support the balance of payments position, according to the cabinet decision. It decided that the prohibition will not apply on the imports in rupees or through barter mechanism by land routes.