Commerce Ministry interacting with chambers to resolve trade issues
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce is regularly interacting with chambers of commerce and industry, including the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) solve the problems faced by the trade and industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
Four meetings have already been held with the representatives of chambers on March 31, April 1, April 2 and April 8 in that regard, a ministry press release said.
During the meeting, the ministry engaged presidents of different chambers, including FPCCI, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Chairman of Engineering Development Board (EDB).
Two of the meetings were chaired by Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and two by Secretary Commerce Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera.
During the meetings, the trade and industry representatives informed about the issues faced by the business community, including cash flow problems, markup on loans and maturity of letters of credit (L/Cs), early refund of sales tax, payment of Duty Drawback and Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL), deferring the payment of gas and electricity bills of industries, and allowing confirmed export orders to be dispatched.
They also sought permission for movement of workers of the three critical sectors i.e. food, pharmaceuticals and energy, finding alternative sources for the imported food items, making standard operating procedures (SOPs) for export oriented industries to allow them to function and the like.
The trade and industry representatives were assured of early resolution of their problems by taking up the same during the meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) of the National Coordination Committee.
According to the press release, the problems and issues faced by the business community were discussed in the ministry in detail, and coordination was being made with all the ministries concerned, State Bank of Pakistan and provincial governments for their mitigation.
The chamber representatives were also informed that the Ministry of Commerce had already tasked its trade and investment officers posted abroad to explore new and viable markets for the import of food items and to ensure that export orders of Pakistani exporters were not cancelled.
The request of importers for extension in maturity of L/Cs had also been taken up with the State Bank of Pakistan through the Ministry of Finance. It was stated that the Ministry of Commerce had already released the due payment of DLTL up to March, 2020 and there was currently no pendency under the head.