Pakistan’s federal taxation watchdog, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), has proposed a more than 30% increase in the import duty for soyabean and palm cooking oil for the 2018-19 financial year.
The FBR had asked the government to raise the customs duty on soyabean oil from the current Rs9,050/tonne (US$77.8) to Rs12,000 (US$103.2), an increase of 32.5%, said Pakistan Today in a 3 May report.
For palm oil, the proposal would raise the import duties from Rs10,200/tonne (US$87.7) to Rs13,200 (US$ 113.5), an increase of 29.5%.
The duty hikes, if approved, would impact imports of the oils and industry sources believed that it could increase cooking oil prices by Rs55/kg (US$0.47), making it more expensive for some consumers to buy.
The current soyabean import price in Pakistan was US$790/tonne, but this could jump up to Rs131,637 (US$1,132) if the changes went through, said Pakistan Today.
The proposal had caused some internal friction in Pakistan, as sources within the FBR claimed the pressure to recommend the higher taxes had come from a Punjab province-based federal minister whose relatives operated cooking oil extraction plants.
However, other sources said the government – which had the final say on the matter – was considering scrapping the duty change, and the local industry had also branded the suggestion a “strange move”.