FPCCI hails SBP decision to allow clearance of stuck containers

Our Correspondent
Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

KARACHI: The apex trade body on Monday welcomed a decision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to allow clearance of pending letters of credit (LCs) of the containers stuck at ports or

those which were in-transit.

Importers had been paying detention charges and demurrages, while shortages of raw materials had halted industrial production, which lead to closure of many industrial units, Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry said.

He added that the issue had also caused disruptions in the supplies of agricultural inputs, closure of plants due to unavailability of spare parts of the machinery and equipment, non-fulfillment of export orders, loss of revenue amid dwindling production, and massive layoffs.

Sheikh highlighted that the SBP had advised commercial banks to provide facilitation to those

importers who could extend their payment terms to 180 days or more and also to those who could arrange funds for their import payments from abroad.

The central bank has advised commercial banks to release the documents of shipments that have arrived at a port in Pakistan already or for those shipments which have been in-transit on/before January 18, 2023.

FPCCI chief demanded that the SBP should closely monitor commercial banks to ensure that the decision was implemented in letter and spirit as “it has become a matter of survival for hundreds of factories and hundreds of thousands of jobs.” It is pertinent to note that Governor SBP visited FPCCI head office in Karachi to listen to the grievances of trade and industry in detail.

The session saw participation of many prominent personalities of country’s business chambers, trade bodies, and associations either in-person or through a video link from across various cities and countries.

Sheikh proposed the central bank that a preference should be given to export-oriented industries, food products, industrial raw materials, energy producing imports, and agricultural raw materials while clearing the backlog.

He apprised that the trade body had put efforts to persuade the central for allowing the one-time facilitation as many industries had already shut down their production units and many more industrial units were about to do the same, he added.

FPCCI chief thanked the business community in general and the office bearers and members of FPCCI in particular for their efforts in that regard, adding that they had used every possible platform to get the plea of the business community heard.