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Monday September 26, 2022

ECC lifts ban on imports

The ECC approved the lifting on the ban on the import of 33 non-essential categories, except imported vehicles, mobile phones and home appliances

July 29, 2022
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail presiding over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet in Islamabad on July 28, 2022. Photo: PID
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail presiding over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet in Islamabad on July 28, 2022. Photo: PID 

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet on Thursday approved the lifting on the ban on the import of 33 non-essential categories, except imported vehicles, mobile phones and home appliances.

The ban on completely built unit (CBU) of autos, mobile CBU and home appliances CBU will continue for the time being. However, on import of spare parts in the shape of CKD for auto sector, mobile phones and home appliances have been allowed. The ECC also approved to fix dealers margin at Rs7 per liter for Motor Spirit (MS) and High-Speed Diesel (HSD).

Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce had banned imports of items such as aerated water and juices, Auto Completely Built Units (CBU), sanitary and Bathroom Waves, Carpets excluding Afghanistan, Chandeliers and Lighting Devices or Equipment, Chocolates, Cigarettes, Cosmetics and Shaving Items, Tissue Papers, Crockery, Decoration/Ornamental Articles, Dog and Cat Food, Doors and Window Frames, Fish, Footwear, Fruits and Dry Fruits, Furniture, Home Appliances CBU, Ice Cream, Jams, Jellies and Preserved Fruits, Luxury Leather, Jackets and Apparels, Mattress and Sleeping Bags, Frozen or Processed Meat, Mobile Phones CBU, Musical Instruments, Pasta, Etc, Arms and Ammunition, Shampoos, Tomato Ketchup and Sauces, Sunglasses, Travelling Bags and Suitcases.

The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Miftah Ismail, presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at the Finance Division on Thursday.

Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mehmood, Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Chaudhary Tariq Bashir Cheema, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MNA/ex-PM, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik, Rana Ihsan Afzal, Coordinator to the PM on Commerce & Industry, Coordinator to the PM on Economy Bilal Azhar Kayani, federal secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research submitted a summary on urgent advice relating to the award of 4th International Wheat Tender 2022 opened on 25th July, 2022. It was informed that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) issued the 4th tender on 19-05-2022 for securing quantity of 200,000 MT of imported wheat on CFR basis. The tender was opened on 25-07-2022 wherein six international suppliers participated, out of which five offered rates. The ECC after detailed discussion approved the lowest bid offered by M/s Falconbridge FZ LLC@ US$407.49/MT CFR bulk on sight LC basis with direction to TCP to negotiate with the Russian authorities to procure wheat on a lower rate subject to confirmation of the ECC.

The Ministry of Water Resources submitted a summary on compensation package for the Chinese causalities at Dasu Hydro Power project. The ECC decided that the amount of compensation/goodwill package will remain the same as per its earlier decision dated January 21, 2022 (i.e US$11.6 million) and approved disbursement of the compensation/goodwill amount directly to the company M/s China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co. Ltd (CGGC) through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Industries and Production submitted a summary on issues faced by Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura Plant) and Agritech. Both the SNGPL based plants are operated by provisioning of RLNG on cost sharing basis. Gas rate for operation of these plants is worked out on the basis of Variable Contribution Margin (VCM). Due to price increase in fuel prices and other factors, both plants have approached M/o I&P for revision of VCM and capping of GST at the price paid by the plants. The ECC, after discussion, approved the proposal to ensure compliance with the earlier decision of the ECC and federal cabinet of shifting both the plants to indigenous gas. The ECC further directed the Ministries of Petroleum, Finance, National Food Security and Industries & production to work out the gas price/VCM for fertilisers. The ECC also decided that sales tax may be charged on the actual price of the gas being paid by the company.

The Ministry of Commerce submitted a summary on prohibition/complete quantitative restrictions on import of non-essential and luxury items. It was submitted that in order to curtail the rising current account deficit (CAD), ban on the import of about 33 classes/categories of goods was imposed with the approval of the cabinet. Due to the decision, the overall imports of the banned items have shrunk by over 69%, i.e. from $399.4 million to $123.9 million. A review meeting was also held to review the ban after two months owing to serious concerns raised by major trading partners on the imposition of ban and considering the fact that the ban has impacted supply chains and domestic retail industry.

In the light of the fact that imports substantially reduced due to consistent efforts of the government, the ECC decided to lift the ban on imported goods except for Auto CBU, Mobile CBU and Home Appliances CBU. Further, all held up consignments (except items which still remain in banned category), which arrived at the ports after 1st July, 2022 may be cleared subject to payment of 25pc surcharge.

The Petroleum Division submitted a summary on revision of OMCs and dealers margins on petroleum products. It was informed that the existing margins were fixed in December 2021 and the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association had approached the government for immediate revision of their margins due to inflation, increase in tariff salaries and utility bills, etc. The ECC, after discussion, approved the proposal to fix dealers margin at Rs7.00/liter for Motor Spirit (MS) and High Speed Diesel (HSD). The dealers’ cash margin on MS petrol was increased from Rs4.90 per liter to Rs7 per liter, so it went up by 42.86 percent. On HSD, the dealers’ margin went up from Rs4.13 per liter to Rs7 per liter, registering an increase of 69.49 percent.

Comments

    Pakistani1 commented 2 months ago

    It is better to keep import ban on all items except those which are produced in Pakistan and exported, until the time foreign currency situation improves. Since that is unknown, keep the ban on for 1 year minimum.

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