Ministry seeks data on cars held up at ports

Updated August 28, 2019


The existing regulations on imports of used vehicles suits local manufacturers. — AFP/File
The existing regulations on imports of used vehicles suits local manufacturers. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: While reje­c­ting the proposal to reverse policy on import of used cars, the Ministry of Commerce has sought information from customs depar­tment to identify exact number of cars imported in violation of procedures and held up at Karachi ports.

Lobbyists of used cars and local auto manufacturers are each pressuring the government to agree with their point of view. The existing regulations on imports of used vehicles suits local manufacturers.

An official source told Dawn that used car importers met Adviser to PM on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sha­ikh on Aug 26 seeking clearance of cars imported in violation of revised procedures. “We have asked the customs department to give us the actual number of cars at Karachi ports”, the official added.

He said that there are conflicting figures about the total number of cars held up at ports and after ascertaining the exact number, the ministry will look into the proposal whether to allow their clearance or not. The official, however, clarified that there is a consensus among policy makers that no change will be made in the import policy for used cars while adding that the data from customs department would not make a ground for allowing clearance of held-up cars.

The change in auto import policy has led to a decline in customs’ revenue in the first month of current fiscal year. Further, clearance of vehicles stuck at the Karachi ports will generate one-time revenue for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries President Daroo Khan Achakzai came in support of the clearance of used cars at ports. He said the move will not only generate additional revenue for the FBR but will also help release the cars held up at ports to importers.

Talking to Dawn, FPCCI President Achakzai came hard on the government for restricting imports of used cars. “I will urge PM Imran Khan to direct the concerned quarter to stop anti-business policies”, the president said.

Last year, the commerce ministry had made the procedures for import of three-year-old used cars stringent linking the conditions of bank details of importers for clearance at the country’s Karachi ports.

On the other hand, Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association Director General Abdul Waheed Khan sent a letter to commerce secretary on Aug 22 to appreciate the ministry’s stance on the policy for used car imports for overseas Pakistanis.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2019