Pakistan bans import of non-essential luxury items as rupee hits new lows

Decision will help save the country’s foreign exchange reserves, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says


Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Thu 19 May 2022, 8:09 PM

Last updated: Thu 19 May 2022, 8:27 PM

Pakistan on Thursday announced an ‘emergency economic plan’ under which it would ban the import of 38 non-essential items such as cars, furniture and fruit jams to help boost the country’s struggling economy.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the import ban on luxury items as well as non-essential goods will help save the country’s foreign exchange reserves which dropped to $10.16 billion on May 13.

The Pakistan rupee also hit a historic low on Thursday, with 200 rupees fetching $1 or Dh54.5. The currency, which ended at 200.2 against the greenback in interbank market, has lost value against the US dollar by 13 per cent since ex-premier Imran Khan’s government was ousted on April 10.

“My decision to ban (the) import of luxury items will save the country precious foreign exchange,” Sharif tweeted.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the decision to ban import of 38 non-essential items will give a boost to the local economy and industry.

“We will be able to save $6 billion by imposing a ban on import of the luxury items,” Aurangzeb said at a press conference, adding that the ban would be effective immediately.

The list of non-essential luxury items include automobiles, mobile phones, home appliances, shampoos, furniture, crockery, fruits and dry fruits (except from Afghanistan), kitchenware, juices, pasta, ice cream, chocolates, cigarettes, and musical instruments, among others.

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