LAHORE: Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has welcomed SBP’s policy decision on Monday to allow clearance of pending LCs of the containers stuck at the ports or those which are in transit. He added the issue was causing detention charges, demurrages, shortages of raw materials for industrial production, closure of major industrial units, disruptions in the supplies of agricultural inputs, closure of plants due to unavailability of spare parts of the machinery and equipment, non-fulfillment of export orders, loss of revenue due to dwindling production and massive layoffs.

Sheikh highlighted that the SBP has advised commercial banks to provide facilitation to those importers who can extend their payment terms to 180 days or more; else, to those who can arrange funds for their import payments from abroad. Additionally, commercial banks have also been advised to release the documents of shipments that have arrived at a port in Pakistan already or for those shipments which have been in transit on/before January 18, 2023.

It is pertinent to note the governor SBP visited FPCCI Head Office in Karachi on FPCCI insistence and listened to the grievances in detail. The session saw the participation of hundreds of prominent personalities of country’s all chambers, trade bodies and associations – either in-person or through video link from across various cities and countries.

He apprised the FPCCI has worked very hard to persuade the SBP in this regard as many industries had already shut down their production units and many more industrial units were about to do the same. The FPCCI delivered the results for the entire business community and in the larger national interest, he added.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh thanked the business community in general and FPCCI office-bearers and members in particular for their hectic efforts in this regard and not losing hope along the lines. He added that we used every possible platform at our disposal to get the plea of the business community heard.

He demanded the SBP should closely monitor commercial banks to ensure that the decision is implemented in letter and spirit as it has become a matter of survival for hundreds of factories and hundreds of thousands of jobs. The FPCCI chief has proposed that preference should be given to export-oriented industries, food products, industrial raw materials, energy producing imports and agricultural raw materials while clearing the backlog.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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