SBP allows one-time facilitation to importers for consignment clearance

SBP allows one-time facilitation to importers for consignment clearance

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday allowed one-time facilitation to importers who arrange funds to settle pending import payments.

Through a circular, the central bank advised banks to provide a one-time facilitation to all those importers who could either extend their payment terms to 180 days (or beyond) or arrange funds from abroad to settle their pending import payments.

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“Accordingly, till March 31, 2023, banks have been advised to process and release documents of shipments/ goods that have already arrived at a port in Pakistan or have been shipped on or before January 18, 2023,” the SBP stated.

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Further, banks have been advised to educate their customers to inform their banks prior to initiation of any import transaction to avoid any complications in the future.

The SBP withdrew the requirement of prior approval of imports (falling under HS code Chapters, 84, 85 and certain items under HS code Chapter 87) and instead gave a general guidance to the banks to prioritize import of certain essential items like food, pharmaceutical, energy, etc.

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The business community, including various trade bodies and chambers of commerce, have highlighted that a large number of shipping containers carrying imported goods are stuck up at the ports, due to delays in release of the shipping documents by the banks.

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