Dubai: Good news for Pakistani expatriates in the UAE and around the world.
You may soon be allowed to import one hybrid car to your home country — tax free — upon presenting proof of remitting $100,000 using legal banking channels within two years.
The move will not only benefit the overseas Pakistanis but will also help improve foreign exchange reserves in the country, currently facing acute financial crisis.
However, the initiative is still a proposal, prepared by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development (MOPHRD).
The Ministry has forwarded the proposal to Ministry of Industries & Production and Engineering Development Board (EDB) for their opinion to formally grant Foreign Exchange Remittance Card (FERC) holders the privilege avail the duty-free vehicle import.
$100,000 remittance pre-requisite
The proposal letter reads: “Duty-free import of one hybrid car up to 3000cc to Foreign Exchange Remittance Card (FERC) holders, who remit $100,000 over a period of two years.”
Gulf News has a copy of the letter.
It is not clear how long it would take to finalise the decision. The ministry, however, is keen to introduce the scheme "as soon as possible".
Following instructions from the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Delivery Unit, various departments have been requested to put up their concessional proposals which they could offer to the expatriated Pakistanis.
The Overseas Ministry is currently in the process of developing a list of major concessions and incentives for them.
The departments, he said had been requested to submit their comments on the proposal at the earliest so that the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis could prepare the final list in a stipulated time as advised by the Prime Minister’s office.
Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Pakistan Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis & HRD on Wednesday tweeted in support the proposal.
“In recognition of our Overseas Pakistanis who use banking channels to send money back home, my ministry has proposed to reward them for their contribution to the national exchequer. I will be backing this initiative with full force so in time we can kill the menace of hundi/havala (illegal banking channels),” tweeted Bukhari.
Current vehicle import rules
Currently, Pakistan expatriates in the UAE are allowed to import a saloon car of up to three years old and an SUV (up to five years old).
However, they have to pay hefty Customs duties — from 60% to more than 100% of the value of the vehicle they import.
A Pakistani expatriate can send a vehicle to Pakistan to his blood relatives including father, mother, sister, brother or children under "gift scheme" if he is resident of the UAE for at least two years — but the same Customs tax applies.
He is also allowed to take a car under "baggage allowance" if he is resident of the UAE for at least six months.
Also, an expatriate is entitled to take the car to Pakistan under 'transfer of residence' rules.
However, very few residents import cars for personal use due to very high customs duties.
Iqbal Dawood, President of the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai welcome the new proposal and said: “It will be very beneficial for residents if the Pakistani government allows duty free import of hybrid vehicles,” he said.
He, however, said that import of vehicles by Pakistani expatriates has almost been closed for the last one year as various departments in Pakistan harass overseas Pakistanis regarding their income resources.
“People are now scared to import vehicles as they do not face unnecessary inquiries,” he said.