ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 (APP):Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Baligh Ur Rehman on Wednesday
informed the Senate that the government had paid back $ 18.320 billion external
debt from June 2013 to September 2017.
Replying to a question during Question Hour, the minister said that Pakistan’s financial discipline
was very good and all loans had been paid back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in time.
He said the total debt was around 60 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said an amount of $ 4.562 billion debt would be paid back in fiscal year (FY) 2018,
$4.868 billion in FY in 2019, $ 6.531 billion in FY 2020, $3.909 billion in FY 2021
and $5.157 billion in FY 2022.
To another question, the minister said Pakistan Customs had seized goods worth Rs.9.582
billion in fiscal year 2014-15, Rs.14.343 billion in FY 2015-16, Rs.15.652 billion in FY 2016-17 and
Rs 4.630 billion (July to October 2017).
He said the task of preventing smuggling from neighboring countries was challenging due to
the long porous Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders, mountainous terrain, tribal
society as well as volatile law and order situation in the region.
Apart from a few designated Customs Stations/ posts, the Customs department had no physical
presence on the international borders for preventing smuggling of animals and
other items through unfrequented routes which were being manned by other Law
Enforcement Agencies, he said.
He said Federal Board of Revenue has authorized the officers of Pakistan Rangers, Frontier
Corps [Khyber Paktunkhwa including FATA] to exercise anti-smuggling powers
under section 6 of the Customs Act, 1969 within 20 kilometers of the international borders.
Likewise, Pakistan Coast Guards and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency were empowered to exercise anti-smuggling powers along the coast line and in the high seas, he said.
The minister said as regards smuggling of live animals, Pakistan Customs took various steps
including enhanced vigilance on smuggling prone routes, closer coordination
with other LEAs, and effective use of various Customs Check Posts.
Model Collectorate of Customs, Quetta, seized 978 animals worth Rs.21.483 million during 2016-17
and 431 animals worth Rs.14.064 million during this year.
To a separate question, the minister said no amount has been recovered from the mobile phone
companies on account of sales tax fraud during the last two years.
After 18th amendment in the Constitution, collection of sales tax on services has been
transferred to provincial authorities, whereas, Federal Excise Duty on services
rendered in Federal Capital Territory was being collected by Federal Board of Revenue, he said.