Govt considering action against illegal, smuggled cigarettes sale
29 May, 2007
ISLAMABAD, May 29 (Online): The Central Board of Revenue is planning to launch a major crackdown to control the rising trend of cigarettes smuggling and sale of various brands carrying no health warning in the country as this illegal trade is increasingly damaging not only the government’s initiatives to expand tax revenue but also the local legitimate cigarette industry .
“Constitution of various teams in all the four provinces including the federal capital is under serious consideration of the tax authorities. These teams would conduct raids at the already marked dumping places as well as retail outlets involved in the sale of smuggled cigarettes,” sources close to the CBR informed this correspondent .
The sources said, the government has taken strict notice of the continued sale of non-duty paid cigarettes and the violation of printing of health warnings on cigarette packs in the country. “Regional authorities and check-posts personnel have been directed to adopt strict measures to ensure effective control of this menace which is flourishing with every passing day.”
It has been brought into the notice of the relevant authorities that the sale of cigarettes carrying no health warning is going on at almost all retail points throughout the country including Rawalpindi and Islamabad .
According to the health policy rules, publishing the Health Ministry’s warning at every cigarette pack is mandatory and its violation can entail jail or penalty. However, the prevalent situation is at the alarming level where not only the public health has been endangered but also smuggled cigarettes inflict billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer in terms of tax and duty evasion .
Majority of the foreign cigarettes brands are smuggled through Iran, Dubai and Afghanistan into Pakistan and inflict heavy revenue loss to the government. The sources also said that the higher authorities have directed the border security personnel to invigorate monitoring of the border traffic .