ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee on Monday recommended changes to the import policy to facilitate persons with disabilities to import duty-free cars.

The subcommittee of National Assembly Special Committee on Persons with Disabilities met at Parliament House with MNA Munaza Hassan in the chair.

The committee said special persons should be allowed to use their cars for commercial purposes like engaging them with private companies to earn livelihood.

The meeting also called for relaxation to the policy to import eight-year-old cars by persons with disabilities. The committee members said there should be no bar on special persons to use the imported cars personally. They should also be allowed to get vehicles for their attendees.

Differently-abled people should be allowed to import cars with the engine capacity of up to 2,000cc instead of the existing limit of 1,350cc.

Chairperson Munaza Hassan said differently-abled persons are valuable citizens and changes should be made to the policy to help them import cars. She said government organisations working for special persons such as schools should also be allowed to get duty-free cars for pick and drop of differently-abled students.

A working paper of the Ministry of Commerce, which was presented before the committee, stated that in order to facilitate disabled persons to participate in economic activity of the country, the federal government had allowed them to import a duty-free new car.

“Para-17 of the Import Policy Order 2020 specifically allows for import of brand new duty free car of engine capacity not exceeding 1,350cc for personal use of the disabled person subject to import authorisation by Ministry of Commerce to be issued on specific recommendations of respective federal and provincial health departments,” read the working paper.

It also said the ministry on Oct 20, 2020, had notified the eligibility criteria for import of duty-free cars by disabled persons.

The notification stated: “A Pakistani national suffering from physical disability (excluding mentally retarded/handicapped and old-age disability) may apply under the disabled person scheme for import once in 10 years.” It said disabled persons with a monthly verifiable income of Rs20,000 were eligible for it.

The working paper said a statutory regulatory order (SRO) issued in 2007 also allowed “Eligible disabled persons to purchase locally manufactured brand new cars of engine capacity up to 1350cc exempted from customs-duty chargeable thereon as in excess of 10pc ad valorem in accordance with the conditions laid down in Customs General Order.”

Earlier, the committee was told that during the last five years, 593 special persons (including 107 army officials) purchased duty-free imported cars.

The chairperson said the committee will also play its role for making disabled friendly education policies. She said there should be scholarships for differently-abled students in all public and private educational institutions of the country.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021

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