LAHORE: The government should take notice of the defiance of the government authorities’ orders of extension in free time by the port terminal operators and shipping lines. The sword of overnight shift in government policies always remains hanging on the head of every company. Everyone knows that COVID-19 has badly impacted the economy .
This was stated by Dr Muhammad Arshad, FPCCI Regional Chairman and Hi-Tech Group of Companies CEO in an exclusive interview with Customs Today.
“This is very unfortunate and tantamount to challenge the writ of the government. A large numbers of importers have been complaining to me about the issue that they were facing a cash crunch due to the COVID-19 and lockdown and were not able to release their good,” he said adding that even I myself was not able to get the relief on demurrages and detention. It is not the importer’s fault that they were confronted with cash crunch.
When asked what is your take on the port terminal operators and shipping lines’ defiance of the government and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s orders about relief of demurrage and detention charges to the commercial and industrial importer amid COVID-19, he said whole of the world has extended reliefs to the revenue generating sectors of their economy even the countries have offered loans to the trade and industry on zero percent mark-up rates. However, in our case the trickle-down effect of the relief initiatives has not reached the targeted sectors due to the incompetence of the government machinery. He said that the government should take notice of the defiance of the government authorities’ orders of extension in free time by the port terminal operators and shipping lines.
“The relief is the legitimate right of the commercial and industrial importers in the wake of the time when COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world,” he added.
When asked what type of issues do you face in producing, importing, exporting and marketing and what do you expect from the government, he highlighted the sword of overnight shift in government policies that always remains hanging on the head of every company. “We have been demanding import friendly soybean policy for which the whole world is a market.
If soybean is imported in Pakistan under the import friendly soybean policy on a large scale we can export soybean meal to the whole world besides taking advantage of the US and China tariff war,” he said.
Talking about the current state economy he said that so for as the state of economy is concerned, everyone knows that COVID-19 has badly impacted the economy and how to come out of it is the bigger question which I have explained to the Prime Minister Imran Khan in a sort of one-to-one meeting where Mian Anjum Nisar was also present. “I proposed to the PM that the package announced for the construction industry should be extended to all sectors to cope with the economic slowdown and revenue shortfall due to COVID-19,” he said, explaining no source of income should be asked from any type of investor. Dubai is one best instance for it as whoever you are and wherever you are from they have never asked your source income for commencing any business.
“We should make it a part of the monetary policy so that investors’ trust could be revived. When the investors would have confidence that they will not be answerable for their investment more investment will come in the country generating employment making the economy strengthen.
However, the investment should be accepted through the banking channels in order to register the black or parallel economy. “The IMF and FATF will certainly object over it but what we need to do is to convince them with special reference to the COVID-19 pandemic. Turkey made progress on the similar formula as they ensured certainty for 15 to 20 year and the manufacturing flourished there. Industrialization can never take place in uncertainties,” he concluded.