LAHORE: The illegal demurrage and detention charges by the shipping lines including M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and terminal operator QICT have added to the per unit cost as they have no set criterion and worst is that the customs department and the government are never interested in regulating the shipping lines.
This was stated by Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Vice-President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal while talking to Customs Today here.
He said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rate of interest has been exorbitantly high and it must be brought down to five percent, enabling the local businessmen to avail cheaper funds for the trade and industry.
Talking about the illegal demurrage and detention charges by the shipping lines including M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and terminal operator QICT, he said that these shipping lines are not regulated by Customs Department and the government which increases cost of doing business.
Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal said that the tax collecting authorities are also one reason due to which business activities have come to a halt. The tax authorities need to change their attitude, the number of taxes should be clubbed into one or two taxes and the tax system should be made simple, enabling the businessmen to pay their taxes without passing and suffering through the intense procedures, the LCCI VP emphasized.
He also talked about the harassment and hurdles created by the Customs Anti-Smuggling Organisation (ASO) and Customs Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) authorities who for the sake of minting money illegally obstruct the import consignments despite the fact that the consignments are cleared by the Customs authorities in Karachi.
The Customs ASO and Customs I&I should be stopped from this illegal practice and they should do their job while checking smuggling and smugglers who are fearlessly operating all across the country and none is there to question them, he stated.
He said that though the government introduced the Economic Reform Package with a delay, yet it is a milestone towards putting the economy on the right direction. “However, this is not the end but a beginning and revolutionary decisions are required to enable the economy to vie with the world,” Saigal said.
He said that overseas Pakistanis are an important component of the economy who have been ignored for so long. “The overseas Pakistanis have been remitting a big chunk of forex reserves which more or less is equal to the size of the value of total exports”.
“The overseas Pakistanis can play a vital role in building the economy on sustainable basis,” the LCCI pointed out, adding that the incentives will prompt them to send the remittances through the banking channels. Highlighting the issue of 0.9 percent infrastructure cess, he said that the importers who are getting their goods cleared from the ports in Lahore have to face additional 0.9 percent infrastructure cess creating disparity in the cost of doing business.