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Clearance of import shipments at Karachi Port: Computer industry concerned at inordinate delay

According to a communication of Munawwar Iqbal, chairman IT Committee ICCI and representative of the Pakistan Computers Association to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Thursday, there are some serious issues confronting the business community due to the delay in shipment clearance of various goods belonging to the essential item category at the Karachi port for the last two months causing extensive demurrage and costs unbearable to the traders of the country.

At a time when the dollar is experiencing fluctuations day by day, this situation is of serious concern for trade bodies throughout the country that have urged the government to take immediate steps to correct the situation towards smooth running of business to keep the balance between demand and supply situation in the country and to save the industries from a standstill.

He said that the situation has arisen due to a circular letter No 11 dated July 5, 2022 issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), adding solar panels, inverters, and batteries to the updated list of products for which “prior permission” will be required when opening LCs for the import. Besides, this circular also expanded its coverage to all items under HS codes, 84 and 85, which also includes computer hardware items. This is an alarming development particularly for the business community dealing with the IT equipment.

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The steps taken for updating its list of goods and item as stated above creates new problems for the importers and traders of IT industry in the country raising huge losses and costs to the shipping goods and items.

The representatives of the chambers of commerce and industries in the country have complained that the banks are not releasing the import documents and are also charging amounts above the inter-bank dollar rate making it difficult for the IT sector because of their consignments being stuck at ports making difficult for the business community to plan their orders.

The importers have lost millions of rupees due to rupee devaluation and the banks should release the import documents with immediate effect to avoid further loss to the importers.

The IT business community which is the backbone of the economy is already facing severe economic challenges while the lack of support by the financial institution is making it hard to do business.
Under the circumstances stated above it is strongly requested to immediately review the “prior permission” order for goods stuck at the port to avoid losses with each passing day to the importers and traders, Munawwar Iqbal added.
Source: Business Recorder

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