Saturday July 02, 2022

Smoking illegally

February 07, 2022

The recent operation by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to curb the trade of illegal cigarettes is highly commendable. It has seized 8,320,000 illegal cigarettes which had evaded taxes worth over Rs17 million, showing just how huge the illegal trade net is and how it is damaging our economy.

It is also alarming to know that the market share of illegal cigarettes has reached 40 percent. Recently, the government taxed various essential items in the mini-budget, yet it failed to cut off the pathways of illicit trade. It should formulate and enforce a strategy to curb the illegal trade of cigarettes, instead of taxing essential items. Such a strategy can, however, only bear fruit if proper auditing of all imports is done and anyone found guilty of wrongdoing is held accountable – and penalised.

Abu Bakar Kareem