LAHORE: The commercial and industrial importers have asked the Prime Minister to take action against those companies, which have continuously been violating the government advice and refusing the clear directions of various state agencies like FBR and EDB to relax detention and demurrage charges at least in lockdown period.
Friends of Business & Economic Reforms (FEBR) President Kashif Anwar, while talking to a delegation of importers, observed that more than two weeks have passed but no relief has been announced by any shipping line or port terminal. “We request you to ask Ministry of Maritime Affairs to instruct all the shipping terminals and shipping lines not to charge demurrage and detention till the pandemic is over. Also, we request you to refund the demurrage, detention and other charges to those importers who have paid them to clear their consignments during this period of lockdown.”
Kashif Anwar also blasted the terminal authorities for rejecting the 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.”
Kashif Anwar stated that in order to cope with the challenges of prevailing worldwide 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.
“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.
Kashif Anwar stated that 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. He said 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. “We should not forget that commercial importers dealt in the trade of raw materials, tools and accessories played a vital role in fulfilling the needs of the local industries and their survival.”