ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan approved, in principle, the first-ever National Tariff Policy on Wednesday.
The policy is aimed at ensuring transparency, predictability and institutionalising the entire tariff structure in the country. The draft, approved by the prime minister, would be presented to the federal cabinet for its consideration and approval, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Highlighting salient features of the policy, Commerce Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha said major objectives of the National Tariff Policy, which had been drafted after detailed and comprehensive discussions with the stakeholders, were to improve competitiveness through access to raw material, increase in employment opportunities by attracting investment through a transparent and predictable tariff regime and remove anomalies in the tariff structure which had caused distortions.
Policy principles include tariff as a trade policy instrument, reducing exemptions and concessions, cascading tariff structures with the stage of processing of a product, strategic protection to domestic industry and competitive import substitution.
The new policy also envisages establishment of a tariff policy centre in the Ministry of Commerce in order to frame proposals for improving the tariff structure in line with the objectives of the National Tariff Policy.
Appreciating efforts of the commerce ministry in formulating a comprehensive tariff policy for the first time, the prime minister said it would greatly restore confidence of the business community by providing a transparent, predictable and institutionalised tariff structure. PM Khan was of the view that the economy, especially trade and industrial development, suffered in the past due to ad hocism and unpredictability of the tariff structure, resulting in capture of the economy by vested interests and rampant corruption.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2019.
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