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KN95 face mask prices to jump double to Rs 700 due to blocking and recall of all its imports

KN95 face mask prices to jump double to Rs 700 due to blocking and recall of all its imports

KARACHI: Price of KN95 face masks can be increased in upcoming days due to blockage of its supply by Customs, recalling of all the consignments previously cleared without DRAP NOC and rise in demand of face masks due to Coronavirus disaster. Collector Irfan-ur Rehman’s timely intervention proved successful to halt ‘smuggling’ of face masks as these consignments of influential people were being cleared without DRAP NOC, a must requirement for import and clearance of such consignments.
Now KN95 face masks are sold between Rs 300-350/piece without filter and Rs 350-400/piece with filter but its prices can be doubled to at least Rs 600 without filter and Rs 700 with filter in due course of time because not only the new supply of KN95 is blocked by customs but they are ready to recall all the consignments previously cleared.
Sources have informed Customs Today that almost 97% of the consignments already cleared are done illegally so these consignments could be recalled containing KN95 masks with and without filter. These importers could also be penalised for illegally clearing the KN95 masks without DRAP NOC because this tantamount to smuggling while their WeBOC IDs along with the IDs of the clearing agents can also be blocked for any future clearances until and unless the previous cleared consignments are deposited back to the customs along with the penalties.
Collector Irfan-ur-Rehman Khan directed Deputy Collector Tausif Aman Gurchani, MCC of JIAP Karachi, to check all the consignments from 16 May and stop those without proper documents. This action by Collector Irfan has sounded alarm bells to all the other collectorates of Pakistan that are clearing face masks without DRAP NOC. Sources further said that importers of these consignments were putting immense pressure on the Collector for clearance of their consignments and high-level government officials, ministers and senior political personalities also contacted him and tried to pressurise him to clear these consignments. The Collector is known to abide by the law and did not succumb to the pressure and stopped these consignments following set rules and regulations. He showed full commitment with his official duty without regard to any fear or favour.
Sources said the consignments of KN95 masks belong to very influential people including ministers, top bureaucrats, senior politicians and they would put all pressure on the collectors of all the AFUs and customs intelligence to stop recalling those illegally cleared face masks.
Sharjeel Jamal, one of the known clearing agents, stressed that KN95 was being cleared on regular basis and more than 1 Million pieces were already cleared. He said that if the department is now holding all present and future clearances then it is mandatory to even recall all those 1 Million face masks from importers already cleared. Law needs to be implemented equally for all importers and cannot be done on pick and choose basis. Some of the clearing agents have claimed that they have paid the customs lower staff Rs 40 per mask to clear their KN95 consignments without DRAP NOC and now if the customs Department is recalling all those consignments and demanding to deposit the already cleared KN95 masks then at least they should refund all the fees paid to the department including the Rs 40 paid under the table, otherwise the clearing agents said they could take legal action against the lower customs staff.
Sources said importers would increase the price of KN95 due to future shortage as new imports would not be done. Also, importers would not deposit back the KN95 masks but since they would have to face legal risk and legal charges to keep their IDs functional, hence they would be forced to cover such charges from the increase in prices of KN95.
On the other hand, demand of these masks is also increasing in the country due to rise in the cases of coronavirus and huge requirement by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to fulfill the demand. With rising demand, NDMA Islamabad invited all potential bidders / firms / suppliers / manufacturers for emergency tendering of following Personal Protective Equipment for use Health Care professional for COVID-19:-
(1). N-95 Masks-ICU/Medical Grade 700,000
(2). Protective Suits – 80 GSM 500,000
(3). Surgical Gown – 50GSM 500,000
(4). Nitriles Gloves 3,800,000
(5). Latex Gloves 2,700,000
(6). Disposable Gowns -30 GSM 2,700,000
(7). Face Shields – ICU/Medical Grade 250,000
(8). Disposable Caps 500,000
(9). Shoe Covers 500,000
(10). Gum Boots 30,000
(11). Surgical Medical Masks 3 Layers 6500,000
With blockage of consignments by Customs, recalling of already cleared consignments and rise in the demand, prices of KN95 face masks will double to at least Rs 600 without filter and Rs 700 with filter in the coming days.