KARACHI - Country suffered a revenue loss of Rs 10 billion in a year due to smuggling of black tea. As a largest consumer of black tea, Pakistan consumed around 220 million kilogram tea every year. Approximately every second cup of tea consumed in the country is smuggled.

Pakistan Tea Association Chairman Mohsin Saify informed The Nation 80-90 million kilogram black tea captured the local market through Afghan Transit Trade but authorities concern yet seems reluctant to take action against the mafia involved in business while country bears loss over Rs10 billion.

All the shipments through ATT cleared without paying all duties and taxes where the same shipment of tea that import by the local companies clear after paying all duties, he added.

He informed that not only PTA, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry have had requested the Federal Government to control this issue but no initiatives have been taken by the authorities so far.

It is the challenge for government to control this illegal trade he said adding that the reduction in sales tax would be the only solution to control the smuggling of black tea and that would also secure the loses the country is suffering.

He said that such sort of black marketing would not be stop over a night, rather it will take time and permanent strategy to prevent the smuggling of tea. He cited that the previous government has taken the initiatives but unable to maintain the position more than four months which resulting mafias resumed their activities.

Former Chairman PTA Hamid S Khawaja told The Nation that government has introduced different mechanisms to curtail informal sector but failed to stop the illegal trade. “Monitoring trucks through electronic gadgets, linking Afghan and Pakistani Customs on line and deploying additional anti-smuggling staff are among the key measures to curtail tea smuggling into Pakistan via ATT but unfortunately none mechanism fetched any positive results.

Heavy duties on eatable items promote the smuggling if government fix all the duties at 20 percent that would support the revenue and it will also benefited to the government.  Relief in term of taxes or duties also generates the economic activity in the country also facilitate the common citizen.