ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday lifted the ban on exports of seven products classified as personal protective equipment (PPE) in a bid to allow manufacturers to honour international orders.
The decision, taken by the National Command and Operation Centre of the National Coordination Committee on June 8, will allow exports of disposable gowns, disposable gloves, face shields, biohazard bags, goggles, shoe cover and hand sanitisers with immediate effect.
However, the ban on exports of N-95 masks, surgical masks and Tyvek suits will remain in place, the SRO526 issued on Tuesday showed.
The government had, on Mar 24 imposed a ban on export of all these PPEs in a bid to assess baseline requirements of the country.
However, it had already allowed export of cotton masks on April 23.
The Ministry of National Health Services, which overseas imports and exports of medical goods and instruments sent a letter to Federal Board of Revenue Chairperson Nausheen Amjad to allow exports of the seven PPEs.
Adviser to PM on Commerce Razak Dawood said the government has done its part to lift the ban on PPE exports.
“Exporters please take note and go full speed ahead to capture a good share of the world market”, he said.
He also advised the pharma industry to share their proposals with the commerce ministry to get support on exports and tariff rationalisation. Historically, pharma exports have fallen under the ambit of Ministry of Health for commercial matters, he said.
“The time has come for this to change”, he said, adding that the industry has great potential, which must be realised.
Exports of health-related products from the country are subject to no objection certificates from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan.
Many countries have restricted exports of all goods used in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.
However, in Pakistan, the decision to allow or ban exports of PPEs has been unclear since the last few weeks.
Despite that, Pakistani manufacturers have already shipped washable cloth masks used for anti-dust pollution since April 23.
The Covid-19 has opened up new avenues for the textile industry to take advantage of the rising demand of PPEs.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2020