Govt to take measures to enhance revenue, exports in new budget: Asad Umar

ISLAMABAD: The PTI-led government is all set to introduce a new budget where different measures are under consideration to enhance revenue, exports and curtail imports to reduce the trade deficit, ease pressure on the local currency and narrow budget deficit, by imposing one percent additional regulatory duty on non-essential items. That commerce division has reportedly prepared a list of non-essential items and the government is considering measures to rationalize non-essential imports to reduce the quantum of trade deficit. Sources told that the government is likely to enhance regulatory duty on mobile imports and mobile phone handset prices are can be increased again. It is important to mention here that previous government had imposed a levy of up to Rs5000 on importing mobile phone handsets in the budget 2018-19 which came into effect from July 1, 2018, through Finance Act 2018. The objective behind the move was to curtail growing imports and generate additional revenue. However, mobile phone import witnessed a phenomenal growth of 19.44 percent or $847.654 million in the fiscal year 2017-18 as compared to $709.690 million during the same period of 2016-17. According to the Finance Act 2018, smartphones of different categories are charged under the different criteria. The levy is zero where the import value of handset (including duties and taxes) does not exceed Rs10,000. There is a levy of Rs1000 per set where import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs10,000 but does not exceed Rs40,000. There is a levy of Rs3000 where the import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs40,000 but does not exceed Rs80,000. There is a levy of Rs5000 where the import value of handset (including duties and taxes) exceeds Rs80,000 per set. According to the Finance Act, a levy of Regulatory Duty (RD) @ Rs175/set on completely knocked down (CKD)/semi-knocked-down (SKD) kits of mobile phones had been imposed. New budget is likely to be presented in the National Assembly on coming Friday, while Finance Minister Asad Umar had stated that the government is planning to introduce necessary changes in the Finance Act 2018 to make it more relevant to the current economic state of the country.