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LAHORE: Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi on Friday said that reforms were well on the way and the ministry would achieve its targets soon.

He was speaking in a meeting with business community here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).

The minister said that powers had been transferred to provinces after the 18th Amendment which created a number of issues. He said that fisheries was third largest trade in the world, but Pakistan’s exports in this regard were negligible despite having all resources.

Zaidi said that 90 percent collection of the Federal Board of Revenue was from ports, adding that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs was connected with all other ministries as most of the trading goods were being handled through ports. He said that Pakistan had a single terminal to handle coal, asserting that terminal of Pakistan Steel Mills was out of order since long.

He said that the price of containers increased due to growing demand, adding that negotiations on Port Qasim Agreements were well on the way.

The minister said that commitments, which have made by the state in past were being rectified under rules and regulations. “We are improving efficiency rapidly through reforms,” he added.

On the occasion, Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal said that the government had kept a strong liaison with the business community and businessmen had an easy access to the government and the ministers.

LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah regretted violation of the rules by the shipping companies, which resulted in delays and extra demurrage and wharfage charges for the businesses. He also demanded rationalization of terminal handling charges, port storage charges and container detention charges which have been increased excessively in the recent times.

He said that unfair treatment of shipping companies with regard to container security charges for the up-country businesses and recommended to ensure uniform charges.

The LCCI president appreciated the federal minister for being much responsive about the issues related to Delivery Order (D/O) which includes the delays of 1 to 2 days in issuance of D/O and over-charging by the shipping companies (varying from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000) for issuance of Delivery Order.

Mian Tariq Misbah appreciated the introduction of new Shipping Policy by the government which gives first berthing rights to the vessels registered in Pakistan alongside tremendous incentives in Custom Duties, Sales Tax, Income Tax and concessionary financing at 3 percent from the State Bank. He hoped that private sector would make great use of these incentives and enter into shipping business.

Later, talking to media, Federal Minister said that Sindh government creating hurdles in federal government projects, adding that Sindh government did not transferred land for university in Hyderabad. He said that Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari demanded NRO, therefore he was not sincere with the people of Sindh.

Chairman Pakistan National Shipping Corporation Shakil Ahmed Mangnejo, Member Customs (Policy) Syed Hamid Ali, Secretary Ministry of Maritime Affairs Rizwan Ahmed, President Gujranwala Chamber Muhammad Umer Ashraf, President Sheikhupura Chamber Adil Mehmood and others ware also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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