Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that the government will bring a special package for farmers very soon as a sub-committee of the cabinet was formulating proposals on the subject, reported Dawn News.
He said this during a meeting with the members of the National Assembly from South Punjab. The Prime Minister said that the previous governments ignored South Punjab and discriminated against the people of the region, particularly regarding education, health, and employment opportunities.
MNA Aurangzeb Khan Khichi presented a proposal for the establishment of a cadet college in Vehari. Furthermore, MNAs Salim Rehman and Bashir Khan briefed the PM on employment opportunities for the locals during the construction of dams in Dir.
The premier was also apprised of public issues, efforts for resolution of the said issues, and the progress on education and health projects in Swat.
During the meeting, the PM was also informed regarding the smuggling of petroleum products, food items, and other products. This has been causing a revenue loss of $3.4 billion to the government every year, he was informed.
Dawn News reported that as per the official estimates, the annual quantum of smuggling is about $7 billion. During the meeting, it was told that since smuggling is not under the tax net of the government, it is causing a loss of about $3.4 billion in revenues to the country. Oil smuggling alone is inflicting an annual loss of around Rs. 100 billion to Rs. 150 billion to the government.
The prime minister said to the attendees of the meeting that the menace of smuggling was not confined to petroleum products rather the country’s markets are flooded with all sorts of smuggled goods that have dealt a major blow to Pakistan’s local industries as well. “The smuggling of food items out of the country also poses a threat to our food security,” the newspaper quoted the PM.
When smuggling overtakes a functioning economy, it creates instability, discourages business and investments from coming into the area and most of the smuggling profits also go back to the crime syndicate to fund more illegal activity. This creates a rise in crime and can affect tourism, among other things.
He also said that the government’s anti-smuggling efforts were heading in the right direction and would go a long way in stabilizing the economy.
“It is our commitment to significantly bolster the country’s tax collection to take forward the country on the path of sustainable development and checking smuggling will definitely give impetus to our efforts towards that direction, including documenting the economy and bringing more people to the tax net,” he added.
The meeting was also attended by Special Assistant to the PM on Political Affairs, Malik Amir Dogar, and MNAs, Salim Rehman, Bashir Khan, Aurangzeb Khan Khichi, and Nur Mohammad Khan Bhabha.