ISLAMABAD   -   The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has exempted all duties and taxes on import of onion and toma­toes to reduce commodities prices in the country.

The FBR has issued two Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) to provide exemption from taxes/duties on import of onion & tomatoes to stabilise commodity prices, escalating due to floods. Recent floods have brought unprecedented crop damage. As a result, the prices of onion and tomatoes have sky-rocketed in the local markets. In order to alle­viate the sufferings of the people due to abnormal price hike, the prime minister ordered urgent re­lief measures to ensure an uninterrupted supply of onion and tomatoes in the local markets. 

“In line with the vision of the prime minister, and on the directions of the federal government, the FBR has exempted all duties and taxes on import of onion and tomatoes,” the FBR said on Thursday. Such imports were already exempt from customs duty but were chargeable to 17 percent sales tax, 3 percent additional sales tax and 1 percent income tax. Now these can be imported duty / taxes free till 31.12.2022.

Earlier, FBR issued 5 SROs which exempted from duties and taxes all goods that are needed for flood relief operations as certified by NDMA or a PDMA. Furthermore, the receipt of donations and relief aid has also been exempted.

Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar said that ap­proval was taken from the federal cabinet through circulation summary for the import of onion and tomatoes from Iran and Afghanistan by the pri­vate sector, but the decision was not yet taken to import both vegetables from India. 

He further said that there are issues related to import from India and the decision will be taken after consultation with all the stakeholders.