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The government is considering a proposal to allow export of washable cloth masks/anti-dust pollution masks, which are not currently banned under export policy restricting export of surgical masks or N-95 masks.

Sources believe that through this the federal government can realise multiple targets that is of earning valuable foreign exchange, generating business opportunities for the local manufacturing units, and job creation for the daily wagers, while simultaneously boosting country's capacity in the fight against the COVID-19.

Under existing SRO, the export of surgical masks or N-95 masks is banned, but the export of cloth masks falling under different Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) heading are not.

However, the Customs department is wrongly imposing ban on the export of washable cloth masks, not covered under the ban.

If the government specifically excludes cloth masks from the purview of relevant SRO, the customs department of the FBR would not restrict its exports, and Pakistan can earn foreign exchange as these products do not fall into the category of products, which are restricted by Government of Pakistan.

Presently, local manufacturers cum exporters have orders of foreign buyers of washable cloth masks or anti-dust pollution face masks.

The local industry has a unique opportunity to earn valuable foreign exchange during current time of crisis and lockdown across the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020