LAHORE: The Overseas Investment Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) on Tuesday sought the support of federal and provincial governments for easing restrictions on the movement of persons and raw materials needed for essential items by industries.

In separate letters to Commerce Adviser Abdul Razzak Dawood and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the chamber supported enforcement of lockdown and other measures taken by the federal government and provinces to limit the spread of Covid-19 while calling for correct interpretation and proper implementation of guidelines given in notifications issued by the provincial governments.

In the letter to PM’s commerce adviser, the OICCI — which represents foreign investors operating in the country — urged for directing law enforcement agencies, especially the Rangers, to allow uninterrupted movement of export goods and essential items.

Further, the suppliers of packaging and other raw materials need to be allowed access to the factories to help them avoid interruption in production and distribution.

The OICCI called upon Dawood to intervene and help manufacturers get their goods that have reached the ports cleared by the Customs.

The chamber noted that shipping lines and agents were not being allowed to operate. “Original Bills of Lading (BoL) are required in support of export documentation. Therefore, shipping lines and agents should be allowed to open and staff their offices,” the chamber recommended.

In a letter to CM Sindh, the OICCI urged the provincial government to ensure unrestricted movement of people and raw materials for industries. Transportation services, factories and distribution outlets involved in the supply of medicines, food, petroleum, medical gases, sanitisation and personal hygiene items should remain open.

It said the government’s guidelines in this regard were being wrongly interpreted and OICCI members have complained of not being allowed to provide services as per guidelines.

The chamber requested CM Sindh to immediately intervene and facilitate uninterrupted movement of essential goods and related persons. It said the government should appoint a focal person to authorise free movement of such essential goods on the basis of recommendation from the respective CEO of the foreign-owned company.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2020

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