Wednesday, 1 February, 2023
E-paper

Curb import of luxury goods

Curb import of luxury goods

We got a bit surprised observing two reports regarding spending of foreign currencies in the front page of the Daily Sun’s yesterday issue. The heading of one report read: ‘Luxury imports eating up dollars,’ while the headline of the other one was quite the different - ‘EVMs won’t be procured right now.’ We all know that presently the country is suffering from a sort of dollar crisis. The local currency has been losing its value against the US dollar for months together. There are little signs of it changing. The collapse of the value of the taka or its exchange rate causes panic in the foreign currency market. When the price of the dollar increases, taka becomes cheaper, making import payments greater than before leading to inflation. And that happened affecting the people from all walks of life countrywide.

In this situation, fiscal restraint is supposed to help fight the abnormal situation. The country must preserve vital foreign reserves to deal with potential turmoil in the future. In such a case, foreign exchange intervention may be appropriate. So, we hail the government’s decision of postponement of buying expensive EVMs at the cost of our hard-earned foreign currency. But we found with utter discontent that a significant amount of our foreign exchange reserve, especially US dollars, is being spent unnecessarily on import of luxury goods like cars, cosmetics and fruits. Not only that, money laundering is going on at random in disguise of import of these items. To save the country’s economy and to improve the situation of a prolonged dollar crisis, the government has no alternative, but to tighten its grip on the import of the luxury goods.

A much harsher measure is imperative on the part of the government to reverse the trend as the previous measures proved to be ineffective to overcome the current challenges facing the economy. At any cost, the government must have to stop money laundering to check capital flights and tame the current dollar shortage. The administration should take a tough stance against the money launderers, the enemies of the country. Slapping a ban on import of luxury items, the Ministry of Finance should put priority on import of essential food, fuel, fertiliser and raw materials for export-oriented industries to protect people and the country’s economy.