Import ban partially lifted

Our Correspondent
Sunday, May 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The government has amended its decision of imposing a ban on luxury items imports, allowing imports of energy savers.

It has also allowed import of animial feed other than cat and dog food.

Earlier, the government had slapped a ban on 38 luxury items and got the approval of the federal cabinet through the circulation of a summary and then notified by amending the Import Policy through SRO598 (1) 2022 dated May 19, 2022.

According to Office Memorandum (OM), the Ministry of Commerce issued a clarification with regard to the SRO 598(1) 2022 whereby the import of certain luxury and non-essential items has been prohibited. However, to address concerns of citizens and certain anomalies arising out of the implementation of the said SRO, it is clarified that the SRO 598(1) 2022 dated May 19, 2022, shall not apply to the import of goods for which an Airways Bill has been issued prior to the issuance of this SRO. Import of following PCT codes with descriptions "Others" shall be exempt from the prohibition, including cat and dog food and energy savers.

One top official of the Ministry of Commerce, when contacted, said that the impact of the ban would show from next week because most of the items' LCs were opened prior to issuance of the said SRO through which the ban was imposed.

The IMF high-ups took up this issue of imposing the ban prior to the decision of the government and they were briefed in detail, then the Pakistani delegation which visited Doha also briefed the Fund staff extensively. It is yet to be seen how the IMF reciprocates now because it is fact that the Memorandum of Financial and Economic Policies (MEFP) signed on the occasion of the completion of the 6th Review slapped a bar on Pakistan for not imposing any kind of trade restrictions during the IMF program period.

Now the IMF will analyse whether Islamabad has really been facing serious risk on its balance of payment position or not. Pakistani authorities briefed the IMF review mission in a detailed manner and they were quite hopeful that the IMF would give a favourable report on Pakistan's decision for slapping a ban on non-essential items for a transitory period.

The government has not yet decided about lifting of this ban but it would be reviewed after a couple of months.