Data released by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) showed that the import volume of duty-free goods had increased to Rs. 2.6 trillion during the tax year 2020.
This is 6.4 percent higher than the Rs. 2.44 trillion recorded in the previous tax year. The increase has come despite the efforts of the government to reduce the number of exemptions and concessions.
The data also showed that the duty-free customs clearance had increased by 11.6 percent only on the import of 15 items, but a massive growth of 257 percent had been recorded on clearance of duty-free iron and steel.
On the other hand, the imports of dutiable goods had fallen during the same period. The volume of dutiable imports was recorded at Rs. 4.45 trillion during the tax year 2020, which is 12 percent lower than the Rs. 5.05 trillion recorded in the preceding tax year.
The automotive industry was responsible for a major chunk of this decrease, for which 35 percent lower dutiable imports were recorded. The dutiable imports of vehicles were Rs. 175.7 billion for 2020 as compared to Rs. 275 billion for the year before.
The total value of imports processed by the customs across the country had also decreased by six percent, clocking in at Rs. 7.05 trillion for the year 2020, down from Rs. 7.49 trillion recorded the year before.
This decline in dutiable imports is primarily attributed to the concessions and exemptions granted on the imported goods related to the prevention against the coronavirus. The other trading and lockdown restrictions are also partly responsible for the decline in the overall import bill.
The collection of import duty for 2020 was registered at Rs. 538 billion, as compared to Rs. 605 billion for the year before. At the same time, the regulatory duty collected showed a nominal increase, from Rs. 71 billion to Rs. 72 billion.
Refunds and rebates of nearly Rs. 12.29 billion were issued during the tax year 2020 as compared to Rs. 16.57 billion in the year before, showing a decline of 26 percent.