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Rs21mln worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Nov

By Our Correspondent
December 10, 2021

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday said it impounded illegal cigarettes worth Rs21.5 million in November, 2021.

The FBR’s Revenue’s Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) squads seized 8,320,000 illegal cigarettes in Nov, which involved evasion of duties and taxes worth Rs17.2 million.

According to a Oxford Economics report published last year, tax evasion from illicit cigarettes was Rs50.9 billion in 2018-19 and reached Rs77.3 billion in 2019-20. As per the tobacco industry, the market share of illegal cigarettes in the country can be up to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, in the first five months of financial year 2021-22, IREN seized non duty/tax paid cigarettes of Rs178 million, resulting in detection of evasion of duties and taxes worth Rs143 million. The government has established a track and trace system for the tobacco industry to keep a check on illegal trade of cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the government has also started a track and trace system for sugar. Recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a track and trace system on the sugar industry, entrusting IREN to ensure enforcement across entire supply chain of the sugar industry.

The FBR says the chief coordinator IREN and his regional enforcement squads across the country are geared to conduct raids and ensure seizures on non-tax paid sugar stocks, which move out of factory premises and warehouses without tax stamps.

“As a result, IREN Squads have intensified their operations in every nook and corner of the country, against non-compliant supply chain operators dealing across the sugar sector in order to maximize revenue potential,” says an FBR press release.

It added that squads have raided various sugar dealers in almost all big cities and various small towns to check sugar stocks. During these raids, Hyderabad squad seized stock of 172 sugar bags without affixing of tax stamps in the premises of Gulzar & Co. The stock of 172 sugar bags was seized with initiation of legal action.