KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan has assured the business community of clearing all backlog import-related payments of less than $50,000 within two days, said a statement issued by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) on Wednesday.

Sharing this breakthrough with trade and industry, FPCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said the central bank had agreed to clear or settle all the backlog and stuck payments within two days (which fall under chapters 84 and 85 of the customs tariff) and if their invoice values did not exceed $50,000.

Mr Sheikh maintained that the apex chamber had been working relentlessly over the past couple of months on the issue of delayed clearance of dollar payments of importers; and, finally, after multiple detailed rounds of consultative sessions, the central bank has agreed in principle to at least release all payments in the range of $50,000 or less.

FPCCI announces amounts not exceeding $50,000 will be cleared

Suleman Chawla of FPCCI said that he has also released an official notification from FPCCI on the development to inform all members of the apex body and stakeholders of the lingering issue.

He said the FPCCI had been receiving numerous calls every day from across the country and all sectors affected by the restrictions — which were also impacting raw materials and equipment.

He said the FPCCI was expecting that all payments falling under the category chapter 84 and 85 would be cleared within this week.

Mr Chawla reiterated that the commercial importers and manufacturers have suffered a lot due to the restrictions as these were announced abruptly and without any homework or consultation.

Authorities, he said, should have been meticulously selective in implementing the restrictions to only luxury items, which he claimed would have saved the business community millions of dollars in demurrages, container charges and lost export orders.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2022

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