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MP Puts Smuggling Bill at $21.8b
Economy, Domestic Economy

MP Puts Smuggling Bill at $21.8b

The value of goods smuggled into the country plus that of the fuel that is smuggled out amounts to more than 600 trillion rials (more than 21.8 billion dollars based on official exchange rate) per year, Muhammad Ismaili, member of parliamentary committee for national security, said on Thursday.
The official also explained the causes and effects of smuggling on the Iranian economy. “Western sanctions and decreased oil prices as well as economic problems loaned from the previous administration are forcing the parliament to reconsider next year’s budget bill proposed by the Rouhani administration,” Esmaili told in the northwestern Zanjan province.
Smuggling is considered as a barrier to production. Relevant bodies have revealed that 90 percent of imported cosmetics and hygienic products are smuggled into the country.
Esmaili added that “fighting smuggling is one of the government’s priorities.”  
With regards to the smuggling crisis, earlier this month we had in the news that during the first nine months of the current year (March 21-December 21), 12 trillion rials (over $430 million at official exchange rate) worth of contraband imported goods were seized.
This amount indicates a 24 percent rise compared to the same period last year, said Habibollah Haghoghi, the head of Goods and Foreign Exchange Anti-Smuggling Headquarters. “During the first nine months of the current year, 215 cases of contraband goods worth 5 billion rials, 1,569 cases worth above one billion rials, and 64,000 cases worth less than one billion rials were seized,” he added.  
The Goods and Foreign Exchange Anti-Smuggling Headquarters has announced that smuggled goods, which mainly include consumer goods, accounted for 34 percent of the total imports in the first seven months of the current year (to end March 20).
Esmaili vowed that the government is set to combat the ever-growing rate of smuggling in the country and noted that plans are underway to make the monetary system transparent, organize domestic production, employ various methods to control smuggling, and fix the prices of domestic products.
Regarding the country’s war on smuggling, Habibollah Haghighi, the head of Goods and Foreign Exchange Anti-Smuggling Headquarters, says: “Smuggling is now considered as violation of civil laws, it should also be seen as the violation of Islamic Sharia laws”.
Haghighi also added that the government has to run a broad public campaign against trafficking goods to inform the public, both traffickers and consumers, about smuggled goods and how they harm the country’s economy.

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