QUETTA: Importers have suspended import of fresh fruits from Afghanistan as a protest against an increase in regulatory duty by the Federal Board of Revenue from Rs20,000 to Rs95,000 per tonne.

Hundreds of trucks loaded with fresh and dried fruits have been stranded at Customs House in the border town of Chaman, as the importers have refused to pay increased taxes and suspended import from Afghanistan.

The customs authorities confirmed they had started implementation on the orders of the federal government regarding increasing regulatory duty on the import of fruits from Afghanistan.

“Over 200 trucks which crossed into Chaman from Spin Buldak carrying fruits for the Pakistani importers have been parked in the Customs House, as the importers were not ready to pay taxes according to the new tariff,” the customs officials said.

The officials explained that the taxes would be received for one year, with effect from August 22, 2022. “We informed the fruit importers about the FBR new taxes on September 5,” they added.

Grapes, pomegranates and other seasonal fruits loaded in the trucks would not be available to eat, if the import was not opened within the next two or three days.

The clearing and forwarding agents said the import of fruit from Afghanistan would remain suspended unless the FBR “withdraws the SRO about the new tariff”.

With suspension of fruit import from Afghanistan, Pakistan would face shortage of fresh fruit as fruit orchards in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had already been destroyed by floods, they added.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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