ISLAMABAD: The government has decided in principle to allow clearance of goods stuck at ports, an official source told Dawn on Monday.

The issue was discussed at length at a high-level meeting convened in the Ministry of Finance Ministry and chaired by Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail. Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar also attended the meeting.

According to the source, the Ministry of Commerce has been directed to submit a summary to the federal cabinet for consideration. On May 19, the government impo­sed a ban for a period of two months on the imports of 800 items in 33 categories.

In the wake of the notification, the importers have already booked goods for import, which reached Karachi ports recently. The documentation, according to the source, was filed much earlier than the announcement of the decision.

The source further said that the federal cabinet will also review its decision on July 18 whether to further extend the ban on these items or not. It is also under consideration to lift the ban on the import of accessories. “We have banned these accessories on the basis that sufficient stock was available for two months for local manufacturers of mobile phones,” a source in Customs told Dawn.

Meanwhile, the commerce ministry has already removed the ban on the import of raw materials, intermediate goods, and machinery for the industrial sector soon after the notification.

The source said that the import of banned items has already reached the ports and will be enough for the next couple of months. The ban was imposed in a sense to slow down imports of goods.

The statistics show that in the last 38 days, the ban on the import of these products did not make a difference on the overall import bill, the source said, adding the decision on whether to extend it or not will be made on the total impact of these products. Meanwhile, Pakistan Customs has already nominated focal persons at all international airports of the country to facilitate passengers and ensure timely redressal of their complaints.

The focal persons, who were senior officers of the Customs Department, would be available round the clock over their telephones to help the incoming passengers.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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