EghtesadOnline: More than 36.21 trillion rials ($810.38 million) worth of contraband goods were confiscated in Iran during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (March 21, 2017-Jan. 20), registering a 23.3% increase compared with the similar period of last year.
This was announced by Reza Beheshtizadeh, an official with the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange, Mehr News Agency reported.
Smuggling has had a downtrend since Hassan Rouhani took office as Iran’s president in August 2013.
The total value of smuggled goods during the three fiscal years March 2013-16 stood at $25 billion, $19.8 billion and $15 billion respectively, according to Financial Tribune.
“Last [fiscal] year [March 2016-17], the figure shrank to $12-13 billion, indicating a substantial decrease of 50% compared to the year Rouhani came to power,” Qasem Khorshidi, the spokesman of the headquarters, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“In 2013, less than 1% of all the goods smuggled into Iran were confiscated. The rate stood at 32% last year, during which 146 trillion rials ($3.869 billion) worth of contraband were seized.”
Installing customs and border protection equipment, and using X-ray trucks and sniffer dogs have been among the measures taken to combat smuggling.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration is ranked first in combating narcotics and second in fighting smuggling, according to a World Customs Organization report.
The report published by WCO’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices maps the countries’ customs performance in battling the trafficking, transit and confiscation of narcotics, psychedelics, illegal drug raw material and new psychoactive substances, as well as combating the smuggling of fuel, endangered species, pharmaceuticals and fake products from January up to September 2017.
According to RILO’s experts, Iran’s top rank is because of the successful implementation of electronic customs systems.
Nonetheless, smuggling remains one of the main issues overshadowing Iran’s economy.
According to the headquarters, per capita consumption of contraband in Iran stood at $197 last year.
Contraband comprises 83% of the mobile phone market, 47% of toy market, 27% of the apparel market and 21% of the household appliances market.
According to Abdolmajid Negaresh-Nejad, an official with the headquarters, every $1 billion worth of contraband smuggled into the country destroy 100,000 jobs.