NTC Chairman Promises to Remove Anomalies in 2024-25 Budget

NTC Chairman Promises to Remove Anomalies in 2024-25 Budget

In a significant development aimed at addressing longstanding grievances of the business community over import/export tariffs, anti-dumping duties, and other trade barriers, Chairman of the National Tariff Commission (NTC), Naeem Anwar, has pledged to rectify these issues in the upcoming Federal Budget of 2024-25.

The promise came during a detailed meeting with members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Thursday.

Chairman Anwar’s visit to the KCCI was part of a broader initiative to engage directly with various stakeholders to better understand the complexities of current tariff structures and their impact on local industries. He urged the Chamber to submit a comprehensive list of concerns and recommendations in writing, emphasizing that all proposals received by the NTC would be meticulously reviewed.

“Whether it’s a submission directly to us or through other governmental channels in Islamabad, all proposals are carefully evaluated by our technical team,” Anwar stated. “Only those found beneficial for economic growth are recommended for inclusion in the national budget.”

The meeting was attended by several key figures, including KCCI President Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, Vice President Tanveer Barry, Chairman of the Special Committee for Budget Proposals Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, and former presidents of the KCCI. They discussed various issues affecting the local business landscape, particularly those related to unfair trade practices and disproportionate tariff impositions.

The NTC, established under the NTC Act of 2015, is tasked with implementing anti-dumping laws, subsidies countervailing laws, and safeguard measures to promote the domestic industry and discourage unfair import practices. “Our goal is to ensure a coherent and integrated industrial and commercial policy for maximizing economic growth,” Anwar explained.

One of the critical areas of concern raised during the meeting involved the automotive sector, which, despite heavy protection, has not managed to export even a single unit over the past four decades. Comparatively, nations like Morocco have succeeded in establishing a robust export market for vehicles. Local industry representatives argued that such protectionist measures have inadvertently led to monopolistic behaviors, hindering both domestic growth and competitiveness on a global scale.

Significant attention was also given to the plight of the paper industry, packaging industry, and yarn merchants, who highlighted the adverse effects of current tariff regimes on their operations. In response, Anwar advised them to engage in detailed discussions with the NTC team in Islamabad to work through each issue systematically.

KCCI’s President Sheikh expressed appreciation for Anwar’s commitment to resolving these issues collaboratively. “We are hopeful that the NTC will take our recommendations into serious consideration and that these will reflect positively in the next federal budget, benefiting not only the business community but the entire country,” Sheikh remarked.

Another topic of intense discussion was the special concessions and exemptions granted to tea importers in regions such as FATA, PATA, and Azad Kashmir, which control a significant portion of the market. Kasumbi pointed out that these concessions create an uneven playing field for other importers who comply with standard tax regulations. He advocated for the abolition of such preferential treatments to ensure fairness and equity in the sector.

Moreover, there was a consensus on the need to reevaluate the high tariffs imposed on the automobile and motorcycle spare parts sectors. Representatives from these sectors complained about the crippling effect of these tariffs, which not only hamper growth but also encourage smuggling due to the unavailability of competitively priced legal channels.

In closing, Anwar reassured attendees that the NTC is committed to a transparent and inclusive review process. By addressing these tariff anomalies, the Commission hopes to foster a more competitive and vibrant economic environment that supports both local industries and the broader national interest. The business community remains optimistic that the forthcoming budget will herald significant changes, paving the way for a more balanced and progressive trade policy.