The business community Thursday demanded of the government that smuggling and illicit trade in counterfeit products needs to be curbed without further delay to protect the local industry and consumers. Addressing a seminar on ” Shadow Economy” held under the aegis of Gold Ring Economic Forum here, Coordinator to Federal Tax Ombudsman, Meher Kashif Younis said every country in the world was grappling with the issue of parallel economy and Pakistan was not all alone in this scenario. He said there was no right way of accurately measuring the undocumented part of an economy. Hence, the size of Pakistan’s shadow economy was estimated to be in range of 30-50 percent of the nation’s total reported GDP by various studies using different methodologies. He said the shadow or informal economy refers to economic activities talking place outside the tax and regulatory system and may or may not have any backward or forward linkages with the organised sector. He said the problem with Pakistan was that the size of the unreported economy has grown so high that it is now bearing down on formal sectors, penalising taxpayers, undermining tax collection, intensifying market distortions and creating an uneven field for organised businesses. He said the existence of unregulated economic activities across almost every segment of business underlines poor governance, weak tax administration, corruption and lack of political will to take action against of shadow economy mafia. Meher said the size of unregulated economy was not the only problem Pakistan must deal with. He said black economy, smuggled and counterfeit products were now snatching a bigger market slice from the organised sector, besides fostering further growth in illicit trade at the expense of consumers and industry. He said this was in addition to the government forfeiting large revenues through uncollected taxes that could have been used to build economic and social infrastructure to boost productivity, generate employment opportunities and create surplus for exports. He said it was, indeed, hard to document every unregulated sector, however, many informal micro and small businesses linked to organised sectors will always exist and continue to indirectly contribute to economic growth, therefore, they need not to regulated vigorously but unchecked smuggling and illicit trade must be curbed without any further delay to strengthen the national economy,he concluded.