ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has extended the tenure of Chairperson National Tariff Commission (NTC) for one year on the recommendations of Ministry of Commerce.
On August, 2021, Commerce Division apprised the Cabinet that the NTC was initially established through the National Tariff Commission Act 1990 and it was administratively placed under the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). Since 1995 the primary role of the NTC had been to administer trade defence laws, i.e. anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, as well as, safeguarding duties to protect Pakistan’s trade interests.
The global growth of protectionism and its impact on Pakistan’s trade compelled Ministry of Commerce to make necessary amendments in the NTC laws, so as to make them more effective for ensuring fair trading conditions for Pakistan.
Accordingly, a modified legislation was placed before the Parliament which was approved in the form of National Tariff Commission Act, 2015.
As per section 4 of NTC Act, 2O15, NTC comprises five members appointed by the federal government. The federal government further appoints one member to be the chairman of NTC. Accordingly, the following persons were appointed as Members on September 5, 2019: (i) Robina Athar; (ii) Abdul Khaliq; and (iii) Tipu Sultan. Robina Athar was later appointed as Chairperson of the NTC on December 11, 2019.
In terms of Section 7(1) of NTC Act, 2015, the Chairman and members shall hold office for a period of five years, extendable by one year unless the federal government directs otherwise. The allocated five year’s term of the three was completed on September 04, 2021.
Owing to the upper age limit bar as per Cabinet Division’s letter Abdul Khaliq and Tipu Sultan are not eligible for one-year extension in their term as Member, NTC; only Robina Ather qualified for one-year extension in terms of section 7(1) of the National Tariff Commission Act, 2015.
It was informed that Robina Ather was currently heading NTC, which was responsible for the implementation of trade remedy laws and formulation of National Tariff Policy. Her performance in this role over the past five years, along with her significant prior experience in working customs and Ministry of Commerce, was satisfactory.
During her tenure as Chairperson, the NTC had investigated 18 antidumping cases. She also played an important role in formulation of National Tariff Policy.
Tariff rationalization efforts undertaken by the NTC in last two and a half years had resulted in reduction of duties on 4000 inputs of industrial use. This had helped the business community in reducing the cost of manufacturing, generating employment, attracting new investment and enhancing exports.
Commerce Ministry proposed that Chairperson NTC may be granted extension for one year, in terms of Section 7(1) of NTC Act, 20 September 05, 2O21.
After brief discussion, the Cabinet approved the proposal of Commerce Ministry for extension in term of Chairperson NTC for one year.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021