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Govt needs to take stern action against private port terminal operators, shipping lines

Govt needs to take stern action against private port terminal operators, shipping lines

The business community has run as cash crunch due to stuck-up of the payment and there is no liquidation of the stocks in the godowns as well,” Shahid Nazir, auto parts importer

LAHORE: The government should have to take stern action against the private port terminal operators and the shipping lines who have been defying government’s directive about extending free time up to May 30 to save the import business in the country.

These views were shared by auto parts importer and Montgomery Road Lahore Amjuman-e-Tajran president Shahid Nazir while talking to Customs Today here the other day.

“So far as the demurrages and detention charges are concerned the government has failed to implement its own orders as the private port terminal operators and the shipping lines have given no weightage to the directives of the government functionaries including Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Ministry of Industry and Production, chief collectors, collectors and are charging illegal demurrages and detention charges. The business community has run as cash crunch due to the stuckup of the payment and there is no liquidation of the stocks in the godowns as well,” Nazir said.

In such circumstances it is next to impossible to pay such the huge demurrages and detention charges, he said adding that the business community has been passing through an intense cash crunch and there is no way to immediately make payments to release consignment.

“We are not able to get our consignments release due to the shortage of cash. All around the globe the importers have been extended relief of demurrages and detention and the Pakistani importers should also be facilitated in the extraordinary condition when the pandemic has affected all the walks of life. I myself have seven containers stuck up at the ports and I am unable to get them released due to the shortage of hot cash,” Nazir added.

Nazir lamented the terminal authorities for defying recommendations of the FBR to extend the free period at terminals for charging demurrage, in line with the lockdown extension in the country.  He stated that at a time when federal as well as the provincial governments are endeavoring to facilitate the business community on account of the lockdown the terminal authorities and shipping companies have flatly refused the proposals of Engineering Development Board and FBR which is sheer violation of the PM’s directives to facilitate the businesses.

“The authorities’ target is just profit and revenue generation even in the time of worldwide pandemic and grave financial crisis. “The each and every department all around the country are struggling to provide maximum facilities to the industry but the terminal authorities is not ready to cooperate in this regard and this matter should be brought to the notice of Prime Minister of Pakistan.”

“In order to tackle the pandemic COVID-19 it is very encouraging that different Ministries are continuously announcing various relief packages for export sectors and other local industries in the form of reduction in interest rate, concession, rebates, subsidies, suspension of taxes and extensions in the date of filing of Tax Returns etc,” he suggested.

“We want to bring in your kind notice that in the absence of feasible economic conditions, the liquidity situation of businesses have badly disturbed. It is impossible for commercial and industrial importers to bear further financial losses and pay exorbitant detention and demurrage charges. Keeping in view of the further lockdown government can be the only facilitator for the business community to help them in curtailing their losses in these hard times. We request you, on behalf of the all industrial and commercial importers, to take penal action against those companies which are not implementing the directives of the government,” Nazir pointed out.

“The local industry is backbone of our economy besides agriculture, majority of the raw materials consumed by the local industry are not produced locally and local manufacturers in order to run their industries smoothly have to depend upon imported materials,” Nazir highlighted, adding that many local industries have to close down their business activities during the fight against terrorism, non-availability of raw materials, devaluation, high input cost of utilities, flight of capital from country and many other impediments faced by local industry,” he concluded.