Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday appreciated the government decision to waive demurrage and port charges on all stuck up containers.
The chamber also expressed hope that the Minister’s appeal to Shipping Companies, Freight Forwarders and Port Handlers to waive off their charges would also be taken into consideration by them as relinquishing just demurrage and port charges would not make much difference.
In a statement issued, President KCCI said that It is heartening to see that the meeting held to discuss this pressing issue, which was jointly chaired by Maritime Minister Faisal Sabzwari and Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar, was also attended by Commerce Secretary Sualeh Faruqui, Chief Executive TDAP Zubair Motiwala, Senior Vice President Touseef Ahmed, Vice President Haris Agar, representatives from FPCCI and Shipping Lines along with senior officials from the State Bank and Federal Board of Revenue who, after threadbare discussions, agreed to provide relief, however, there are still a few issues that also need to be amicably resolved so that trade activities could continue smoothly in the larger interest of the country.
He pointed out that in some cases for Sight LCs, formality for Financial Instrument (FI) has already been completed but the commercial banks were tarnishing the country’s image by delaying release of documents which was resulting in unnecessary demurrage and detention charges in addition to jeopardizing bilateral trade relations.
“The State Bank has approved import funding from outside Pakistan to all those businesses who can avail such facilities whether through sister concerns or through those suppliers who can manage long term credit but the businesses need firm assurance that the government will not file any contravention against them at a later stage,” he added.
He further suggested that for all cargoes stuck at the ports and their documents in banks, whether on 60- or 180-days payment period, the payment maturity needs to be from the date of B/L, not from the date of release of cargo.
“We need a clear directive for incoming shipments that they will also be timely released otherwise all the current stocks will be hoarded by local businesses to attain maximum profits which would further aggravate the inflation,” he stressed.
He said that the banks should be bound to process all cases of Section 84 & 85 approved by the State Bank before January 5th, 2023 as soon as possible whereas any LC should be entertained without prejudice and delays as they have already been opened with the approval of the Central Bank.
“Immediate exemption is required for anesthesia, all lifesaving drugs and medical devices so that the private and government hospitals across Pakistan could be operate normally without any interruption as unavailability of desperately needed anesthesia to patients may result in loss of precious lives”, he added.
He further stressed that the open market and interbank disparity was pushing inward remittance via black market which needs special attention and a result-oriented plan of action.
President KCCI said, “At the meeting, Chief Executive TDAP Zubair Motiwala rightly stressed the need for having Import Policy for future which is very important otherwise, we would remain apprehensive about the exports of Pakistan which although everyone want to enhance to overcome trade deficit but these would remain depressed due to lack of faultless import policy”, President KCCI said, adding that clearing the containers only would not severe the purpose, it should be coupled with future Import Policy.”
Tariq Yousuf emphasized that the problem of clearing the containers was definitely a problem of priority but the biggest priority should be to keep the wheels of the industries running and for that matter, future importation of essential raw materials and essential items should continue without any loss of time otherwise the supply chain, which was the most important in production line, would be hampered.