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Govt fails to excercise writ on private terminals, ports, shipping cos: Kashif Anwar

Govt fails to excercise writ on private terminals, ports, shipping cos: Kashif Anwar

LAHORE: It seems as if the government has failed to maintain its writ as the terminal operators and shipping companies have flatly  refused to waive demurrage and detention charges despite numerous requests by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan Customs and even importers separately.

This was stated by Friends of Economic and Business Reforms Kashif Anwar said this while talking to Customs Today.

He said importers have been paying one percent additional Customs duty when goods were moved to bonded warehouses from the ports, while goods in bonded warehouses will be removed within six months.

He said after six months, importers have to pay surcharge, which at times surpasses the value of goods. Now that the markets and businesses are closed due to the lockdown, traders are unable to take delivery of their consignments. The government should waive one percent additional Customs duty along with surcharge on overstay of goods till June 30, 2020. He also demanded waiver of the surcharge already imposed on importers, he added.

“The ports are witnessing severe congestion as the importers are unable to take delivery, and containers are piling up, ” FEBR President said. He said terminal operators and shipping lines were not waiving demurrage and detention charges, which was one reason consignments were not being removed from the ports by importers.

Trader’s cash lines have dried up as the markets are closed. Most of them cannot even pay the banks to get their documents released, let alone demurrage and detention to the tune of millions, he explained.

“Terminal operators should provide relief to the traders, so that the cargo is removed making space available for the new shipments. Importers would get their consignments transferred to bonded warehouses, where space was still available along with option to pay taxes during the course of time”.

He said traders have run a shortage of money and couldn’t pay demurrage, detention. “They would better leave the goods perish at the port.”

On the other hand, he also complained of no measures at the offices of terminal operators and shipping companies to protect against the COVID-19.

He said that these terminal operators and shipping companies are foreign entities, and they repatriate the revenue earned in Pakistan, Kashif said that, concluding that the government should also try to save the important forex reserves.