ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan was on Thursday informed of the various measures taken to make the recently promulgated anti-smuggling ordinance more effective.
While chairing a high-level meeting on smuggling, hoarding and profiteering, the premier was told that the ordinance takes stricter measures against elements involved in smuggling of currency and essential commodities.
The meeting was informed that law enforcement agencies had been empowered to take action against smuggling within five kilometres of borders and at airports. The new law also authorised relevant law enforcement agencies to take into custody elements involved in trafficking.
Further, coordination had been improved between district administration, customs officials, security agencies and law enforcement agencies so as to ensure effective prevention of smuggling.
The chairperson of the Federal Board of Revenue briefed the meeting on the steps taken thus far after the implementation of the Anti-Smuggling Ordinance.
The meeting was informed that provincial chief secretaries had been given a detailed briefing on measures to curb smuggling.
'Threat to food security'
Addressing the meeting, the prime minister said that smuggling was a menace to the country's economy. He said that smuggling harms the national economy in two ways. Firstly, it poses a threat to the country's food security causing the public to suffer because of a shortage of basic necessities.
Secondly, said the PM, smuggling causes irreparable damage to the country's industries, that hampers industrial process.
He said there would be no concession or compromise on the action against smuggling.
The prime minister directed all relevant departments to submit reports on the prevention of smuggling and action taken against those involved in the act after every 15 days so that progress in this regard may be continuously monitored.
The provincial chief secretaries apprised Khan on the situation of wheat production, harvesting and overall situation.
The meeting also reviewed the prices of basic commodities, and the provincial chief secretaries also briefed the prime minister in detail about the steps taken to bring down these prices.
Reports on action taken against hoarders and profiteers by the provincial governments was also presented to the prime minister.
Minister for Industry Hamad Azhar briefed the meeting on the efforts being taken to bring down the prices of cement, steel, cooking oil and other essential items.
While directing the provincial authorities regarding possible steps to bring down the prices of basic necessities, the PM said that reducing the prices of petrol, especially diesel. by the government was to provide relief to the people.
He said that the relevant authorities should ensure that people benefit from the reduction in fuel prices, adding that the provincial authorities should play a proactive role in this regard.
Along with Azhar and the FBR chairperson, Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhr Imam, Finance Advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Trade Adviser Abdul Razzaq Dawood; home secretary, finance secretary, secretary food and secretary FBR were also present in the meeting.
The provincial chief secretaries of the four provinces, home secretaries and IGs also attended the meeting through video link.