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LAHORE: The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) has demanded of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to issue directions to the authorities concerned to immediately release containers which were awaiting their clearance at Karachi port after the government imposed a complete ban on import of luxury items to stabilize rapidly-depleting foreign exchange reserves.

“Thousands of containers have been piled up at Karachi port after the imposition of ban on luxury items, and importers are paying $120 as damages for a single container per day, resulting in total wastage of foreign exchange reserves besides colossal damages to traders,” said APAT Central General Secretary Naeem Mir.

He suggested the government to revisit the list of ‘luxury’ items because smuggling of many items have been started at Torkham, Taftan, Chaman and Afghanistan borders. “Effective measures are needed to stop this illegal practice since it deprives a country of revenue generation,” he added.

According to Mir, the government should allow the import and clearance of those luxury items against whom Letter of Credits (LCs) were opened before June 9. He said that a larger number of importers have no other option but to pay thousands of dollars under the head of damages. “Millions of dollars worth goods are ruining at the Karachi port and no government functionary is showing interest to resolve the impasse,” he regretted.

He said the importers are bearing unbearable losses due to the alleged negligence of the Ministry of Finance. He warned that the traders would take to the streets against the issue in question if Finance Minister Miftah Ismail failed to create a way out for them.

He urged the Prime Minister to personally take up this matter and persuade former finance minister Ishaq Dar to come back to the country and took charge of economic matters as his return has become “inevitable”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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