LAHORE: It is very unfortunate that repeated requests have been made to the government to waive off detention demurrage charges in the wake of crisis time when unprecedented natural calamity COVID-19 has brought the economy to a grinding halt but there is no positive response from the government, shipping lines and terminal operators.
This was stated by PALIMA (Pakistan Artificial Leather Importers & Merchants Association) chairman Faheem Ur Rehman Saighol while talking to Customs Today here the other day.
He said that it seemed just a lip service is being done by the government that if any measures are taken they are being implemented half-heartedly to increase free days for demurrages and detention.
The Federal Board of Revenue requested the shipping lines to waive off the detention charges but they rejected FBR’s request, he said questioning how come the shipping lines have rejected the FBR request when FBR is an authority that issues licenses to these shipping companies.
Faheem said that demurrages are the sole prerogative of the government but that too has not been used by the government and the importers are facing hardships. The government needs to understand the severity of the situation.
‘If the traders and business are not supported in this hour of need, then economic slowdown will be more harsh than the coronavirus, ‘ he warned, saying good sense must prevail in the corridors of the government.
He urged the Ministry of Commerce should issue SROs in this regard so the smooth clearance of commercial and Industrial importers goods and articles can take place.
While talking about the second phase of lockdown extension he said that people should be allowed doing businesses under special SOPs so war against coronavirus could be fought on the economic fronts as well or the nation would have to face irreparable losses on the economic fronts that would have dire consequences in that case.
Faheem also highlighted sad effects of Section-144, explaining that in case some containers are cleared they become an uphill task to unload as police never let labour unload the containers. ‘There must be some procedures to resolve that issue,” he added.
“We should be evolving strategies to fight both with COVID-19 and on economic front which is utmost important as business community also wanted to fight as frontline force like doctors, army and others,” he spoke.
While talking about the leather industry, he said that the government has not announced any Pakages for the small scale industry and the packages announced are for the large scale industry.
Our leather industry is also hit hard by Corona and it should also be considered or employees would lose jobs as the business has come down to zero, ” he concluded.